How To Goal Seek In Excel

Goal seeking in Excel is a powerful feature that allows you to find the input value needed to achieve a desired result. It’s like having a magic wand to solve complex problems in your spreadsheet. Let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of how to effectively use goal seek and make your data crunching life easier!

Setting the Stage

Picture this: you have a sales forecast spreadsheet, and you want to find out how many units you need to sell to achieve a specific revenue target. This is where goal seek comes in handy. Instead of trial and error, Excel can do the heavy lifting for you.

How to Access Goal Seek

To access goal seek, you’ll want to select the “What-If Analysis” option within the “Data” tab on the Excel ribbon. Then, click on “Goal Seek” from the dropdown menu. Alternatively, you can use the keyboard shortcut Alt + A + W + G, which is like a secret handshake for Excel wizards like myself.

Using Goal Seek

Once you have Goal Seek open, you’ll need to specify three key inputs:

  1. Set Cell: This is the cell containing the formula that produces the result you’re aiming for, such as the total revenue in our sales forecast example.
  2. To Value: Here, you’ll input the desired result, which in our case is the specific revenue target we want to achieve.
  3. By Changing Cell: This is the cell that contains the value you want to find. It could be the number of units sold or any other input affecting the result.

My Favorite Trick

One neat trick I often use is to combine goal seek with data validation. By setting boundaries and restrictions on input cells using data validation, I can ensure that the goal seek feature doesn’t produce nonsensical results. It’s like adding a safety net to my calculations!

Real-World Application

Let’s bring this feature to life with a practical example. Suppose you have a mortgage calculator in Excel, and you want to find the interest rate needed to reach a specific monthly payment. With goal seek, you can instantly find the interest rate that aligns with your financial goals.


Goal seeking in Excel is a game changer for anyone dealing with complex what-if scenarios and data analysis. It’s a tool that empowers you to work smarter, not harder. So, next time you find yourself stuck in a web of calculations, remember that goal seek is your trusty sidekick, ready to help you untangle the mess.