So far, we’ve covered sharing a workbook with your team and using special features like Conditional Formatting and Sparklines to provide more depth to our reports. Now, let’s focus on some analytical functions.

Microsoft has included What-If Analysis tools – Scenario Manager, Goal Seek, and Data Table. Scenario Manager and Data Table use sets of input values to determine possible results. Alternatively, the Goal Seek function will take a result and determines possible input values to produce that result.

Let’s assume we are introducing a new product and are looking to determine the sales required to reach a certain Gross Profit target. In the example below, my target is $200,000 in Gross Profit. The new product has an estimated 25% Gross Profit.

Excel Picture

In this scenario, I want to set the Total Gross Profit to my target of $200K by changing the Revenue for the new product. To use Goal Seek, navigate to the Data tab, find the Forecast group and click on What-If Analysis. Set the criteria for each parameter in the Goal Seek formula box.

Excel will churn through the calculations necessary to determine the value you are looking for, very quickly.

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