# Enter A Formula To Display Value From Another Sheet Excel Goal Seeking in Excel

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## Goal Seeking in Excel

Microsoft Excel is an exceptionally powerful calculator. You can create spreadsheets with 10,000 lines of data and instantly calculate subtotals. In fact, if you change your data, any total will automatically update. Of course that’s not very impressive. If we have \$1m in quarterly revenue, and we secure another \$20k, we can update our subtotal without collecting revenue from scratch.

So it’s even more impressive that Excel can do the same with statistical functions. If you’ve ever plotted a chart in Excel, you may be aware that you can add a line of best fit. These lines of best fit are calculated using a method known as regression. Basically, you should calculate the distance of every single point from the line, and minimize the sum. The math is a bit more sophisticated but the main point is that, every time you change the data, you need to re-analyze.

In a well-designed spreadsheet, any output can be calculated from the raw data. However, this is not always enough. Sometimes the output is fixed and the raw data is variable. Let’s say you run an investment company and want to offer a certain return to your clients. An Excel expert can create a very complex model to calculate the potential return on investment over a certain period of time. You can then calculate the internal rate of return offered to customers.

The problem is that you are not interested in the return offered to customers; That, after all, is certain. Instead you are concerned with how much money you expect to get out of the investment fund while providing satisfactory returns to your investors. If you have \$1 and owe a quarter to investors, you can calculate your profit using a simple formula.

Unfortunately the internal rate of return is time dependent so the amount you can withdraw depends on when you withdraw. Suffice it to say, the only way to calculate the amount you can take halfway through a fund’s life is trial and error. If you are evaluating multiple investment opportunities, that can be a very time-consuming process.

That’s why Microsoft has built in a Target Search function to help you develop your spreadsheets. Since Excel 2007, it is available from the Data Ribbon. In previous versions of Excel, it was present from the Tools menu. It gets straight to the point. It asks you what value (in this case the investor’s return) you want to fix, what you want to fix it, and what you want to change. All fields can accept cell references. It will then calculate the input through trial and error.

It has one serious limitation. Not a formula for finding a goal. It does not remain permanently in the spreadsheet or selected cells. So you have to rerun the target search every time you change the spreadsheet. Often this is acceptable because you have created a model specifically to calculate that one parameter. Having said that, there will be occasions where this is insufficient.

The good news is that Target Search can be accessed and run from Visual Basic. An Excel programmer can write a short script to make sure your variables are recalculated every time you change your spreadsheet. Target search takes a significant amount of time, which can adversely affect your page’s performance. The beauty of accessing Target Search from Visual Basic is that you can turn off all processes, such as screen refreshing, that slow down the function.

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