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Chapter 22. Using Excel's Analysis Tools > Using Excel to Analyze Your Data

Using Excel to Analyze Your Data

Many Excel users input data into a worksheet, use simple functions or formulas to calculate results, and then report those results to someone else. Although this is a perfectly legitimate use of Excel, it basically turns Excel into a calculator.

When you need to do more than just type data into a worksheet, you can use special Excel features to analyze your data and solve complex problems by employing variables and constraints.Goal Seek and Solver are two great tools included with Excel that you can use to analyze data and provide answers to simple or even fairly complex problems. Goal Seek is primarily used when there is one unknown variable, and Solver when there are many variables and multiple constraints. Although you may have used Solver in the past, primarily with complex tables for financial analysis, this chapter also shows you how to combine Solver with Gantt charts (page 482). Solver isn't just for financial analysis; it can be used against production, financial, marketing, and accounting models. Solver should be used when you're searching for a result and you have multiple variables that change (constraints). The more complex the constraints, the more you need to use Solver, as shown later in this chapter for resource loading.


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