When you know the desired result of a single formula, but not the values the formula needs for the result, you can use the Goal Seek feature. For example, you can afford a $1,800 monthly payment, so how much of a loan can you take out? When goal seeking, Excel plugs different values into a cell until it finds one that works.
Use Goal Seek
- Click the Data tab on the ribbon.
- Click the What-If Analysis button.
- Select Goal Seek.
The Goal Seek dialog box appears.
- Select the cell with the formula where you want to define the result.
- Click in the To value field.
- Type the desired result of the formula.
- Click in the By changing cell field.
- Select the cell you want to change to reach the desired result.
This cell must be a cell that is referenced by the formula.
- Click OK.
Excel recalculates the formula and displays the value needed to achieve the formula result you desire in the worksheet.
- Click OK to confirm replacing the original worksheet values.
Clicking Cancel closes the dialog box and restores the original worksheet values.
Excel replaces the original values and the desired result is calculated.
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