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Excel 2013 Essential Training

Using Solver


From:

Excel 2013 Essential Training

with Dennis Taylor

Video: Using Solver

If you'd like to get a different answer for a formula or a function in Excel, and you would like to be able to control the variation of a number of other cells that control that formula, you want to be considering the feature called, Solver. We're looking at the Solver worksheet. This feature is actually an extension of or an optimization of the GoalSeek capability. We want a different answer here. We want this to be 265,000 in cell E14. The formulas in this worksheet and they're in columns C and D as well as E essentially build off of what's happening in column B. To activate "Solver", you need to first make sure that this feature is added in to your Excel capability.
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  1. 1m 6s
    1. Welcome
      43s
    2. Using the exercise files
      23s
  2. 29m 37s
    1. What is Excel used for?
      1m 49s
    2. Using the menu system
      4m 30s
    3. The Quick Access Toolbar
      4m 41s
    4. The structure of a worksheet or workbook
      3m 41s
    5. Using the Formula bar
      1m 43s
    6. Using the Status bar
      2m 24s
    7. Navigation and mouse pointers
      2m 20s
    8. Shortcut menus and the Mini toolbar
      3m 24s
    9. Using the built-in help
      2m 54s
    10. Creating new files
      2m 11s
  3. 24m 1s
    1. Exploring data entry and editing techniques
      4m 41s
    2. Entering data with AutoFill
      4m 6s
    3. Working with dates and times
      3m 32s
    4. Using Undo and Redo
      4m 50s
    5. Adding comments
      2m 55s
    6. Using Save or Save As
      3m 57s
  4. 30m 7s
    1. Creating simple formulas: Totals and averages
      5m 25s
    2. Copying a formula for adjacent cells
      2m 54s
    3. Calculating year-to-date profits
      3m 9s
    4. Creating a percentage-increase formula
      4m 7s
    5. Working with relative, absolute, and mixed references
      4m 7s
    6. Using SUM and AVERAGE
      3m 25s
    7. Using other common functions
      7m 0s
  5. 46m 7s
    1. Exploring font styles and effects
      4m 7s
    2. Adjusting row heights and column widths
      3m 37s
    3. Working with alignment and Wrap Text
      4m 2s
    4. Designing borders
      3m 26s
    5. Exploring numeric and special formatting
      5m 36s
    6. Formatting numbers and dates
      4m 31s
    7. Conditional formatting
      4m 21s
    8. Creating and using tables
      9m 59s
    9. Inserting shapes, arrows, and other visual features
      6m 28s
  6. 20m 40s
    1. Inserting and deleting rows and columns
      4m 52s
    2. Hiding and unhiding rows and columns
      4m 2s
    3. Moving, copying, and inserting data
      5m 42s
    4. Finding and replacing data
      6m 4s
  7. 17m 51s
    1. Exploring the Page Layout tab and view
      7m 20s
    2. Previewing page breaks
      4m 56s
    3. Working with Page Setup and printing controls
      5m 35s
  8. 30m 30s
    1. Creating charts
      4m 36s
    2. Exploring chart types
      7m 47s
    3. Formatting charts
      5m 42s
    4. Working with axes, labels, gridlines, and other chart elements
      5m 35s
    5. Creating in-cell charts with sparklines
      6m 50s
  9. 12m 49s
    1. Freezing and unfreezing panes
      2m 39s
    2. Splitting screens horizontally and vertically
      4m 48s
    3. Showing necessary information with the Outlining feature
      5m 22s
  10. 23m 0s
    1. Displaying multiple worksheets and workbooks
      4m 17s
    2. Renaming, inserting, and deleting sheets
      2m 23s
    3. Moving, copying, and grouping sheets
      3m 39s
    4. Using formulas to link worksheets and workbooks
      6m 1s
    5. Locating and maintaining links
      6m 40s
  11. 20m 25s
    1. Using IF functions and relational operators
      3m 43s
    2. Getting approximate table data with the VLOOKUP function
      7m 6s
    3. Getting exact table data with the VLOOKUP function
      4m 42s
    4. Using the COUNTIF family of functions
      4m 54s
  12. 23m 50s
    1. Unlocking cells and protecting worksheets
      7m 50s
    2. Protecting workbooks
      2m 40s
    3. Assigning passwords to workbooks
      4m 41s
    4. Sharing workbooks
      4m 7s
    5. Tracking changes
      4m 32s
  13. 28m 32s
    1. Sorting data
      6m 9s
    2. Inserting subtotals in a sorted list
      8m 25s
    3. Using filters
      6m 16s
    4. Splitting data into multiple columns
      5m 4s
    5. Removing duplicate records
      2m 38s
  14. 35m 2s
    1. Creating PivotTables
      8m 36s
    2. Manipulating PivotTable data
      9m 47s
    3. Grouping by date and time
      6m 0s
    4. Grouping by other factors
      2m 33s
    5. Using slicers to clarify and manipulate fields
      4m 7s
    6. Using PivotCharts
      3m 59s
  15. 23m 29s
    1. Using Goal Seek
      6m 8s
    2. Using Solver
      6m 34s
    3. Using Scenario Manager
      6m 11s
    4. Using Data Tables
      4m 36s
  16. 24m 31s
    1. Definition and examples
      6m 48s
    2. Creating a simple macro
      7m 0s
    3. Running a macro
      10m 43s
  17. 29s
    1. Next steps
      29s

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Excel 2013 Essential Training
6h 32m Appropriate for all Jan 29, 2013

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Whether you're a novice or an expert wanting to refresh your skillset with Microsoft Excel, this course covers all the basics you need to start entering your data and building organized workbooks. Author Dennis Taylor teaches you how to enter and organize data, perform calculations with simple functions, work with multiple worksheets, format the appearance of your data, and build charts and PivotTables. Other lessons cover the powerful IF, VLOOKUP, and COUNTIF family of functions; the Goal Seek, Solver, and other data analysis tools; and how to automate many of these tasks with macros.

Topics include:
  • What is Excel and what is it used for?
  • Using the menus
  • Working with dates and times
  • Creating simple formulas
  • Formatting fonts, row and column sizes, borders, and more
  • Inserting shapes, arrows, and other graphics
  • Adding and deleting rows and columns
  • Hiding data
  • Moving, copying, and pasting
  • Sorting and filtering data
  • Printing your worksheet
  • Securing your workbooks
  • Tracking changes
Subjects:
Business Charts + Graphs Spreadsheets Teacher Tools Education Student Tools
Software:
Excel Office Office 365
Author:
Dennis Taylor

Using Solver

If you'd like to get a different answer for a formula or a function in Excel, and you would like to be able to control the variation of a number of other cells that control that formula, you want to be considering the feature called, Solver. We're looking at the Solver worksheet. This feature is actually an extension of or an optimization of the GoalSeek capability. We want a different answer here. We want this to be 265,000 in cell E14. The formulas in this worksheet and they're in columns C and D as well as E essentially build off of what's happening in column B. To activate "Solver", you need to first make sure that this feature is added in to your Excel capability.

If you go to the Data Tab, if your version of Excel has already added this feature in, you'll see the word Solver in the Analysis group, just to the right of the Outline group. If you're not seeing this group or not seeing Solver, you'll need to take the following step. It only takes a few seconds and you need only to do it once. Go to the File tab in the ribbon, choose Options and in the list of choices here in the Excel Options dialog box, down the left-hand side, choose Add-Ins.

And then in the list of Add-Ins choose Solver Add-in and then, at the bottom of the screen here, Manage Excel Add-ins, click Go. And here we see a list of Add-ins, Solver on my screen is already checked since I already have it installed. In your case, if it's not there, you will want to check the box for Solver and then click OK. And within a few seconds you will have activated the Add-in. And then on the Data Tab you will see Solver. The pop-up description says, What-if analysis tool that find the optimal value of a target cell by changing values in cells used to calculate the target cell.

So lets imagine that this cell E14 is one that we want to change. We want a different answer. Now it's a formula that simply is subtracting two other cells, but those cells are getting their data from a lot of other cells. And ultimately, the cells that trigger big reactions in this particular worksheet are the once we see in column B. So unlike GoalSeek which does allow us to get a different answer, based on one other cell changing, Solver allows us to come up with a different answer based on multiple cells changing.

Let's go to the feature called, Solver on the Data Tab in the Analysis group. Here's the Solver dialog box. Set Objective, we want to change the cell E14, Click or type, E14, set our objective to the Value of 265000. By changing which cells, now we could change the Sales entry for January, the Shipping entry, the Goods, the Freight, the Miscellaneous, maybe all of them. Lets just change a few of them.

I'm dragging across cells B5 and B6, and also I'm going to select B10. Now we want to allow these cells to change. But we do want to be realistic about it. So, let's choose Add; this means Add constraints. The first constrain is that we want this cell B5, lets click on it, to be less than or equal to a certain amount. So let's imagine that we want to allow that January sales number to grow somewhat but not too far. How about 139000? Now that might not be enough, we don't know that yet.

Let's add another constraint. Let's allow our income from shipping, that's in B6 to grow a bit but certainly no more than 28,000. Let's add another constraint. And again, being somewhat optimistic, this time let's focus on Goods, the cost of goods in B10. This time we want to allow that value to drop, but not too much but we want to reverse the arrow here to say that that must be greater than or equal to 75,000.

That's all the constraints we want, we'll Click OK. Here we see the three constraints listed, two of those can grow but within a certain limits, one constraint but within a certain limit. We want this cell E14 to be equal to 265000 lets Click Solve and we get a pop-up box, Solver found a solution. There certainly will be times where the message will say, Solver did not find the solution. And sometimes you'll see a number in the appropriate cell that's very close. The example here, we've got a total, and we've got a new number for Sales, it's 137,687 a new number for Shipping and a new number for Cost of Goods.

And we've got our total here So we've got a couple of options, we could restore the original values; we could keep these and Return to Solver Parameters Dialog. If you're working with this and you decide to go back to original values, if you do want to experiment, you might want to make a copy of this worksheet before going here. But if you're fairly confident about what this feature can do or you've been told that it's a good one, you might just want to Click OK, possibly keeping the results here. What I'm going to do for the moment is Restore the original values and return to Solver Parameters Dialogue box by Clicking OK.

So our numbers are back to what they were. What I didn't point out earlier and something you might want to look into, and this may involve some knowledge about Solver that I'm not familiar with. This is a very sophisticated feature and we didn't talk about the Solving Method. You might not be familiar with the terms GRG Nonlinear, Simplex LP. Each of these has a description here and possibly as you'd make these choices, you might also want to explore Options. And there are different choices here, different choices for Nonlinear, different choices for Evolutionary, Mutation Rate, Population Size, Random Seed.

And so, familiarity with those terms will help you make different kinds of decisions about how to make this feature work for you. And if you want more advice I'm simply going to close this here, it should have to go to the site www.solver.com. You'll get more information on this. This is a classic Excel Add-in. it's been in Excel for any number of years, but this website gives you a lot of detail on how to make this work most efficiently. I think you can see from the small example. This is a sophisticated tool that allows us to do a considerable amount of financial analysis.

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