What is Goal Seek in Excel and How to Use It?

What is Goal Seek in Excel? This question is a frequently asked question in Microsoft Excel interview. Today we will talk about this question. After reading this article I am sure you will be able to answer this question easily with an explanation of why? Goal Seek is a function that helps you manage your business. Especially it can be helpful when you are trying to understand how to convert your loss-making business into a profitable business. To make you understand the objective of this function, I will be giving your three examples in this article and those examples will be from Level 1 to Level to then Level 3.


Definition of Goal Seek in Excel

In Microsoft Excel Sheet, suppose in cell B6, you have a numeric value in it. The value inside this cell B6 is a calculated result of the values inside other cells (B1, B2, B3, B4, B5). Goal Seek can help you achieve your desired value in B6. You can use the Goal Seek function and it will ask you your desired Value of B6 and which cell should change its value to achieve that goal. Look at the same level 1 example below.

I have also created an Excel file for you that you can use to practice. I have created a Youtube video for you to understand this function. Download the Goal Seek Excel file below.

Goal Seel Examples

Level 1


How to Use Goad Seek in Excel

You already know the current value 181 inside the cell B6 is the sum of 45+5+32+33+66. There is already a Sum function deployed inside B6 which is putting the sum of B1+B2+B3+B4+B5 cells inside B6. Support you want to achieve the value inside B6 as 500. You need to follow the steps below.

  1. Select cell B6.
  2. Click on Data Option in the Main Manu.
  3. Click on the What-If Analysis option on the right-hand side of the Main Manu.
  4. Select Goal Seek.
  5. Click on To Value Field.
  6. Type 500 inside To Value Field.
  7. After typing 500 into the To Value Field, select By Changing Cell Field.
  8. By Changing Cell Field is the field where you need to tell Excel, which cell value to be changed in order to achieve 500 in B6 Cell.
  9. After Selecting the cell you need to press the OK button.

You will see the value inside B6 is now 500 and the cell value that you wanted to change to achieve 500 has also been changed. In the above example, if you have selected B2 whose value should be changed in order to achieve 500 inside B6, you will see has now been changed to 324.

This is just a tiny example and you may have got an idea of what you can do with it. In Big organizations, you will see a spreadsheet with hundreds of formulas on it. You will see the entire sheet is self calculated by using Microsoft Excel Formulas. These types of sheets help them pursue their goals and achieve them with accuracy. Let me give you an example from corporate companies.

You will very often see a sheet with managers that has the attendance of all employees. You will also see the attendance in percentage. When employees go on leaves then the percentage goes down. This sheet is self calculated by Excel formulas. They get the target from management that they need attendance 95% for the month. Now the managers use the Goal Seek formula and talk to the employees who are taking a lot of leaves. They request the employees to take fewer leaves. They get the number of leaves to be canceled in order to achieve 95% attendance and distribute canceled leaves among all employees.

The above example is just one example from the corporate sector, Goal Seek in Excel is so useful that you will see it being used in the management of every office.

To understand Goal Seek in Excel easily I have made a video for you. Just like in my previous article on Changing case in Excel.

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