"Goal Seek: Using Goal Seek with Real-Life Example Demonstrations"


When you know the desired result of a single formula but not the input value the formula needs to determine the result, you can use the Goal Seek feature. So, it allows you to find the correct input to produce the desired output.


Goal Seek (Text) - An Example

Say you wish to purchase a car, your current vehicle is worth $4,000 in part exchange. This part exchange value plus your cash down payment of $1000 makes up the 20% deposit required towards the cost of the new car. A spreadsheet to show this is illustrated and shows that you can afford a new car costing $25,000. The only formula in the spreadsheet is in cell E4:
=(E2+E3)*5

Suppose that you have seen a car costing $ 30,000 your question would likely be. What will my cash down payment now need to be? You could experiment by entering various values into the Down Payment cell or you could use Goal Seek.

  • Make cell E4 (i.e. the total car price that you can afford) your active cell by clicking on this cell.
  • Start Goal Seek by opening the Tools menu and click Goal Seek.
  • Enter 30000 in the To value text dialog box and then press the Tab key to move to the field in the Goal Seek dialog box called By changing cell:.
  • Excel goal seek
  • Use the mouse to click on the cell E2. This means that when click on the OK button, the contents of this cell will change to fit in with our desired result.
  • Click OK. The Goal Seek Status dialog box is displayed and the value of your Down Payment has changed to $2000. This is the new amount you should have pay to obtain this car.
  • Excel goal seek status
  • If you click OK these changes are accepted or if you click Cancel these changes are not accepted.


Goal Seek (Graphical) - An Example

If we suppose that you have seen a car costing $14,000 your question would likely be. What will my cash down payment now need to be?

  • First select the data as illustrated.
  • Goal seek datasheet
  • Click on the Chart Wizard icon on the Standard toolbar and when the Chart Wizard dialog box is displayed, click on the Finish button to create a bar chart using default formats.
  • excel chart wizard
  • The bar chart produced should resemble that shown below.
  • goal seek bar chart
  • Click once on the column representing the Total car price that you can afford. You will see a small rectangular square in the center of each column as illustrated.
  • goal seek bar chart
  • Click once on this column again, and the display will change as illustrated.
  • goal seek bar chart
  • Move the mouse pointer to the top of this column and then click and drag the column up or down as required. You will see a small rectangular box is displayed, which indicates the value that you have dragged to. In our example, we dragged to $ 14,000.00 only that release the mouse.
  • goal seek bar chart
  • The Goal Seek dialog box appears ready for you to enter a cell reference into the By changing cell: text box.
  • Click on the cell E2, to place this value into the By changing cell: text box.
  • goal seek box
  • Click on the OK button to display the Goal Seek Status dialog box.
  • goal seek status box
  • Click on the OK button to accept these changes and exit from the Goal Seek Status dialog box.



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