Goal Seeking

Excel 365 2013 2010 2007 2003
Goal seeking is a useful feature that works in conjunction with your formulas. If you know what a formula result should be, Excel can tell you which values of one or more input cells you need to produce that result.

Single-cell goal-seeking (also known as backsolving) represents a rather simple concept. Excel determines what value in an input cell produces the desired result in a formula cell.

For example, you want to have a minimum of $10 000,00 of income in sales this year. Your income consists of a unit price (now you think about $25 per unit), a discount of every unit (e.g., 10%), bank fees (2,5% per unit), a sales value (about 200 units) and taxes.

Example of Goalseeking in Excel 2016

On the Data tab, in the Forecast group, click What-If Analysis, and then click Goal Seek...:

Goal Seek in Excel 2016

The following list describes the entries for each of the items in the dialog box:

  • Set cell specifies the location of the formula you use to get the result. In this case, the formula is in cell B8 and multiplies the number of units sold by the unit price.
  • Type the target value in the To value box, which in this case, is $10 000.
  • In the By changing cell box, specify the cell location of the variable that you want to change to reach your goal in this case, cell B5, the cell containing the number of boxes you need to sell to achieve your $10 000 sales goal.
Goal Seek choose in Excel 2016

As soon as you click OK or press Enter, Excel begins seeking the specified goal. In this case, the solution indicated is 480 total units at the current price of $25.00:

Goal Seek Status in Excel 2016

See also this tip in French: Comment utiliser la Valeur cible.

If you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to ask OfficeToolTips team.

We use cookies to personalise content and ads, to provide social media features and to analyse our traffic. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners who may combine it with other information you’ve provided to them or they’ve collected from your use of their services.

Learn more