how to use goal seek in excel

How to Use Goal Seek in Excel

Excel has proven itself to be very useful in various situations over and over again. The list of Excel’s benefits seems to be never-ending.

It even has a tool for answering questions and forecasting information. The Goal Seek function in Excel is a great tool for those asking “What if” type questions.

Use this guide to learn how to use goal seek in excel as well as how to put it into action.

Why Use Goal Seek?

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The Goal Seek feature in Excel is basically used to create formulasIt provides information on cause and effect situations.

It determines what specific data will impact another set of data. This feature comes in handy in lots of scenarios.

In financial and sales situations, it can be used to determine what must be accomplished in order to reach a certain monetary goal.

It can also be used to calculate how many votes a candidate needs to win an election.

Once you have your Goal Seek formula in place, you can change any part of it to see how the formula as a whole change.

For example, a computer sales company has a profit goal of $3 million for the year.

Each of their computer systems cost $200, while additional accessories like keyboards cost $50 extra.

This company could use how to use goal seek in excel to determine how many of each product they’ll need to sell to reach their goal.

Here’s How To Use Goal Seek In Excel

To use Goal Seek, you will have to open a new sheet and enter the current information you have.

To make learning Goal Seek a little easier, we are going to use a simpler example.

Sample Scenario

how to use goal seek in excel

How To Start

To start, enter your information and functions into a spreadsheet in an organized table.

For our data, we’ll have the headings Playground, Movie, and Total in the first column.

Across the top, we’ll have the headings Votes and %. We have set up our table to calculate percentages base on the votes.

The goal will be to determine how many votes will it take to choose the Playground option.

Next Move

The next thing we need to do is select the cell we want to change. We want to make the Playground vote equal 66%, or 2/3, so we will select that cell.

Under the Data tab, locate the “What If Analysis” button. Click it to reveal the drop-down menu.

On this menu, you will see “Goal Seek.” Select this option, and a dialogue box will appear.

The first option you will see will ask you to set your cell. In our case, the percentage of Playground votes cell is D2, so we will enter that into the box.

Next, you will see “To value.” This is where you enter the desired goal. Our goal is 66%, so we will enter that into this box.

Final Steps

Finally, the last box will say “By changing cell.” This will be whichever cell you want to change in order to get your result.

We want to know how many votes will get us to 66%, so we want to change the number of playground votes. In our case, that is cell C2.

After you input all of your information, hit OK. Your information on your table will change to accommodate the goal number you have set.

In our case, we change the playground percentage to 66% based on the number of votes it needs.

When we hit OK, the numbers on our chart revealed that 24 out of the class’s 37 students would have to vote for the playground.

That is for them to reach 66% and establish a fair vote.

The Goal Seek function also shows us that for this to be true, 13 students will have voted for the movie.

Conclusion

 

how to use goal seek in excel

The Goal Seek function can be a very useful tool when trying to forecast sales, finances, votes, etc.

Numbers can be tricky to determine, and in important situations, it can be crucial to making decisions based off of accurate information.

The Goal Seek serves to perform exactly that.

Upon first use, the function can prove to be a little tricky. An important thing to remember is to make sure all of the functions in your table make sense.

The Goal Seek feature will not work properly if your functions don’t add up.

You may also get some funky numbers that don’t make sense if your functions don’t make sense.

It is a good idea to practice using this method a few times before you start using it for important projects.

Once you have the feature mastered, Goal Seek is an excellent tool for both professional and educational use.

Read through this guide on how to use goal seek in excel and follow the steps a few times to really nail down the skill.

This may come as a surprise to how useful it becomes. As a matter of fact, your business or job will be a lot easier.

Soon you’ll be forecasting information for all sorts of projects!

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