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For this week’s discussion are asked to define optimization and the Solver tool on excel. Optimization in Excel is used for deciding on the best outcome, or the objective one would like to reach (Foreman, 2014). When optimizing an objective, one is either maximizing or minimizing the objective (Foreman, 2014). An example of minimizing is lowering the shipping costs of products or minimizing the prices for parts to a product. The optimization option in Excel is an Add-in, and it links with Excel Solver to solve complex problems. The Solver allows the user to plug in the data, and once the information is added, one must select the cells needed to provide a decision (Foreman, 2014). The Solver can then provide a solution to whatever problem it is asked (Foreman, 2014). There are three parts to Excel optimization: target cells, changing cells, and constraints (Winston, 2014). In business, management and decision-makers can use optimization in Excel for many different objectives. “The purpose of optimization is to achieve the “best” design relative to a set of prioritized criteria or constraints” (Kelley, 2010). One can use optimization to their advantage by identifying the areas of strengths and the areas of weaknesses of services, products, and the overall performance of a business. 

               The Solver option, once set up on Excel, can be found in the Analysis section under data (Foreman, 2014). However, according to our book Microsoft Excel 2013: Data Analysis and Business Modeling to set up the Solver option on Excel, you must first go to File and select the options button and Add-ins (Winston, 2014). You must then choose Excel Add-ins and hit Go (Winston, 2014). Lastly, select the Solver Add-in option and hit Ok (Winston, 2014). 



Foreman, J. W. (2014). How to Solve Optimization Problems with Excel and Solver. Computerworld. Retrieved from: How to solve optimization problems with Excel and Solver | Computerworld

Kelley, T. R. (2010). Optimization, an Important Stage of Engineering Design. Utah State University. Digital [email protected]. Retrieved from: Optimization, an Important Stage of Engineering Design (usu.edu)

Winston, W. L. (2013). Microsoft Excel 2013: Data Analysis in Business. O’Reilly Media Inc. Retrieved from: 28. Introducing optimization with Excel Solver – Microsoft Excel 2013: Data Analysis and Business Modeling (apus.edu)


The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines optimization as an act, process, or methodology of making something (such as a design, system, or decision) as fully perfect, functional, or effective as possible.  Likewise, dictionary.com defines optimization as a mathematical technique for finding a maximum or minimum value of a function of several variables subject to a set of constraints, as linear programming or systems analysis.  It is the definition from dictinaly.com that best describes this week’s subject.  Furthermore, we can use the description from dictionary.com to explain the Solver tool in Excel.  According to Microsoft, Solver is an Excel add-in program used to find an optimal (maximum or minimum) value for a formula in one cell subject to constraints on the values of other formula cells on a worksheet.  For example, imagine you are in charge of setting up a fundraiser.  The budget for the event is $500, and there are three different products cost $2, $3, and $4 to buy.  Additionally, each product has different profit margins of $.50, $1.00, and $.75.  Lastly, there is a minimum order of 25 units for each product. Based on this information, you can use the Solver tool in Excel to find the combination of products that will maximize the profits without going over the budget.

First, it is necessary to clarify the primary goal.  Since it is a fundraiser, the goal is to maximize profit while reducing costs. Next, it is necessary to determine the parameters: the price and profit margin for each product. After defining the parameters, it is necessary to define the constraints.  In our case, the constraints are the budget and the minimum order requirement for each product.  Finally, it is possible to create an Excel file and use Solver (see picture below).  For our example, Solver recommends buying 25 units of product A, 116 units of product B, and 25 units of product C for a maximized profit of $147.25.  This is a simple example of how to use this powerful tool.


Rommel Blanco


Dictionary.com. (n.d.). Optimization. In Dictionary.com dictionary. Retrieved March 19, 2021, from https://www.dictionary.com/browse/optimization

Merriam-Webster. (n.d.). Optimization. In Merriam-Webster.com dictionary. Retrieved March 19, 2021, from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/optimization

Microsoft. (n.d.). Define and solve a problem by using Solver. https://support.microsoft.com/en-

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