Goal Seek is a feature in Microsoft Excel that allows you to find the input value that will produce the desired output value in a formula. In this lesson, you will learn how to use Goal Seek in Excel.
Goal Seek requires you to have a formula in a cell and a desired output value. For example, you might have a formula that calculates the total cost of a purchase, and you want to know how many items you can buy with a budget.
In the example, you know price and budget. You want to check, how many pieces you can buy. In this example, price is $230 and your budget is $1 000 000. How many pieces you can afford? Select the cell with the formula (that calculates the result) to be set by Excel for the expected value. In the above example it is a cell with your budget.
To use Goal Seek, go to the Data tab and click the What-If Analysis button. Then, select Goal Seek from the list.
The Goal Seek dialog box will open. In the Set cell field, select the cell that contains the formula. In the To value field, enter the desired output value. In the By changing cell field, select the cell that contains the input value that you want to change.
Click OK to start the Goal Seek process. Excel will adjust the input value in the By changing cell field until the output value in the Set cell field matches the desired value.
The Goal Seek process will stop when the output value in the Set cell field matches the desired value. The input value in the By changing cell field will be the value that you need to change to achieve the desired output value.
As you see, Goal Seek is a very easy way to calculate results. Try to learn for your own with more difficult examples.
Keep in mind that the input value that Goal Seek finds is only an estimate, so you may need to perform the process multiple times to find an accurate result.
Things to remember
- Goal Seek requires you to have a formula in a cell and a desired output value.
- The input value in the By changing cell field is the value that you want to change to achieve the desired output value.
- The Goal Seek process may take several iterations to find the desired output value.