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Chapter 2. Analyzing Data with Excel > Using Goal Seek for What-If Analysis

Using Goal Seek for What-If Analysis

The what-if analysis you’ve seen so far has concentrated on changing formula variables to see what effect this has on the result. But what if you need to come at the problem from the opposite angle? That is, what if you know what result you’re looking for? In that case, what you need to know is the specific set of formula values that will give you the result you seek.

For example, you might know that you need to have $50,000 saved in 15 years for your child’s education, or you might know that you have to achieve a 30% gross margin in your next budget. If you need to manipulate only a single variable to achieve these results, you can use Excel’s Goal Seek feature. You tell Goal Seek the final value you need and which variable to change, and it finds a solution for you (if one exists). (If you want to manipulate multiple variables, use Solver, instead. See “Solving Complex Problems with Solver,” later in this chapter.)


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