How to Goal Seek in Excel: Step-by-Step Guide to Mastering the Tool

How to Goal Seek in Excel

Goal Seek in Excel is a powerful tool that lets you find the right input value when you know the result you want. It’s super handy when working with formulas and trying to figure out what values you need to reach a specific goal. You just enter the formula, set the desired result, and let Excel do the rest. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you master Goal Seek.

How to Goal Seek in Excel

Here’s what these steps will help you achieve: You’ll learn how to use Goal Seek to adjust one input value so that your formula reaches your desired outcome. This can save you loads of time and help you make better decisions with your data.

Step 1: Open Excel

Open the Excel file where you want to use Goal Seek.

Make sure your file contains the data and formulas you’ll be working with. If you’re starting from scratch, enter your data and create your formula first.

Step 2: Select the Cell with the Formula

Click on the cell that contains the formula you want to adjust.

This cell should display the result you want to change. Make sure it’s selected before moving on to the next step.

Step 3: Go to the Data Tab

Click on the ‘Data’ tab in the Excel ribbon at the top of the screen.

The ‘Data’ tab contains various data tools, including Goal Seek. You’ll find it in the ‘What-If Analysis’ menu.

Step 4: Click ‘What-If Analysis’

In the ‘Data’ tab, find and click on ‘What-If Analysis.’

A drop-down menu will appear, listing different tools. Goal Seek is one of these tools.

Step 5: Select ‘Goal Seek’

From the drop-down menu, click on ‘Goal Seek.’

A small dialog box will pop up on your screen. This is where you’ll input your target value and the cell you want to change.

Step 6: Enter Your Goal

In the ‘Goal Seek’ dialog box, enter the cell reference for your formula in the ‘Set cell’ field. Then, input the value you want as the ‘To value.’ Finally, enter the cell reference of the input cell you want to adjust in the ‘By changing cell’ field.

Double-check your entries to make sure they’re correct before you hit ‘OK.’

Step 7: Click ‘OK’

Hit the ‘OK’ button to run Goal Seek.

Excel will now adjust the input cell to reach the desired result in your formula. If it finds a solution, it’ll display a message with the new value.

After completing these steps, Excel will adjust the input value to reach your desired outcome. The ‘Set cell’ will now show the new result, and the ‘By changing cell’ will display the adjusted input value.

Tips for Goal Seek in Excel

  1. Ensure Accuracy: Make sure your formulas are correct before using Goal Seek.
  2. Simple Formulas: Goal Seek works best with simple formulas.
  3. One Variable: Goal Seek only adjusts one variable at a time.
  4. Check Results: Always double-check the results to ensure they make sense.
  5. Save Before Using: Save your work before using Goal Seek, just in case you need to revert back.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Goal Seek used for?

Goal Seek is used to find the correct input value when you know the desired outcome. It adjusts one variable to achieve the specified result in a formula.

Can Goal Seek handle multiple variables?

No, Goal Seek can only adjust one variable at a time. For multiple variables, consider using Excel’s Solver tool.

Is Goal Seek available in all Excel versions?

Yes, Goal Seek is available in most versions of Excel, including Excel 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel for Office 365.

What if Goal Seek can’t find a solution?

If Goal Seek can’t find a solution, it’s likely because the desired result is not achievable with the given formula or constraints. Double-check your data and formula.

Can I undo the changes made by Goal Seek?

Yes, you can undo the changes by pressing Ctrl + Z or using the ‘Undo’ button.


  1. Open Excel.
  2. Select the cell with the formula.
  3. Go to the Data tab.
  4. Click ‘What-If Analysis.’
  5. Select ‘Goal Seek.’
  6. Enter your goal.
  7. Click ‘OK.’


Congrats! You’ve now mastered how to Goal Seek in Excel. This nifty tool can transform the way you handle data, making it easier to find the exact numbers you need to achieve your goals. Whether you’re planning a budget, calculating loan payments, or analyzing business scenarios, Goal Seek can save you time and effort.

If you found this guide helpful, why not explore more advanced features like the Solver tool? Keep experimenting and see how these tools can simplify your workflow. For those who love diving deep into Excel, there’s always more to learn. So, keep your curiosity alive and happy calculating!

Get Our Free Newsletter

How-to guides and tech deals

You may opt out at any time.
Read our Privacy Policy