Do you ever think about questions like this?
- What is the maximum profits we can make?
- What is the best way to schedule employees in shifts?
- What the best combination of tasks we can finish in a given time?
You might have heard about Excel Solver tool while trying to find solutions to questions above. If you have never used Solver or have little idea about it, then this post and video are for you.
What is Excel Solver really?
Excel Solver can solve problems for you. That simple!
For a given problem, excel solver can run various permutations and combinations and find out best possible solution for you. It is like goal seek, but better & awesomer.
Excel Solver Tutorial:
It is tricky to explain what solver does in text. So I made a short video (13 min). In this video you can learn,
- What is solver really?
- How to use it – a simple example.
- Finding the next month with 5 Fridays, 5 Saturdays and 5 Sundays using Solver
Watch the Excel Solver Tutorial video:
Few Tips while using Solver:
- Define your problem first: In order to make the best use of solver, you need to define your problem very clearly and model it using Excel. This comes with practice. Start by modeling sample problems you find in work / life and you will be able to master this art.
- Tweak Solver Settings: Mess with solver settings by clicking on “options” button.
Additional Resources on Excel Solver
- Excel Solver Introduction and examples from Microsoft
- Excel Solver Examples from Vertex42
- Linear Programming with Solver from Economics Network
- Excel Solver Tutorial & Examples [PDF] from Standford University
What is your experience with Solver?
First I must confess that I am still a partial solver virgin. I have used it during my MBA to solve some optimization problems. Then I never had the opportunity to use it while working. I still struggle to set-up models and find required solutions thru Solver. That said, I think solver is an excellent tool and very powerful.
What is your experience with solver like? Please share tips / ideas with us using comments.