What’s What-If Evaluation in Excel?


If you happen to’re engaged on an Excel sheet and sustaining a number of parameters, it should be difficult to trace all of them concurrently. Let’s say you’ve a product and want to analyze the revenue on its gross sales utilizing totally different gross sales costs and models bought. How would you try this? That is exactly the place a What-If evaluation in Excel can prevent numerous time.

Nonetheless confused? Think about you’re planning a highway journey to a well-known vacationer vacation spot. Naturally, you’ll think about the gap, gas consumption, journey, and departure time for numerous commuting choices, budgets, and alternate options. Earlier than finalizing the plan, you’ll think about totally different situations and see which one fits you finest. That is precisely how Excel’s what-if evaluation helps in analyzing knowledge.

What-If Evaluation in Excel

Because the title suggests, what-if evaluation in Excel is just discovering solutions to “what occurs if we do that.” It’s the strategy of observing or analyzing how altering cell values impacts the consequence. This highly effective function permits you to discover dynamic situations, like altering formulation, and so on., after which be aware how these dependencies influence the worksheet’s consequence.

Significance of What-If Evaluation in Determination-Making

Nearly each data analyst or expert works with Excel sheets to make higher, faster, and extra correct knowledge selections. The What-If evaluation in Excel could be very environment friendly and extensively utilized in a number of functions like situation analysis, danger evaluation, cost-benefit evaluation, forecasting, and extra. Let’s examine a few of them intimately.

Situation Analysis

With the what-if evaluation in Excel, analysts can enter totally different values as “IFs” and see “What” occurs in every situation. This helps decision-makers to see the potential penalties of various situations.

Threat Evaluation

Utilizing this evaluation, decision-makers also can assess potential dangers. As an example, technical folks working in oil rigs or wherever within the oil and fuel trade regularly use the What-If evaluation in Excel to see how totally different volumes and capacities influence oil and fuel manufacturing.

Useful resource Allocation

What-if evaluation in Excel also can help in optimizing useful resource allocation by analyzing totally different situations. Utilizing this evaluation, decision-makers can establish useful resource necessities, consider value implications, and anticipate investments based mostly on their potential influence.


Analysts and decision-makers can use the assorted instruments out there for what-if evaluation in Excel to forecast inventory costs, future gross sales, and another related elements.

Excel affords quite a few instruments that you should utilize for knowledge evaluation and acquire insights, summarize unorganized knowledge, carry out statistical evaluation, and far more. On this part, let’s discover among the most used ones.

Overview of Excel’s Information Evaluation Instruments

  • Pivot Tables: These tables show you how to summarize and analyze huge datasets by clubbing knowledge based mostly on some standards. Pivot tables can generate stats and carry out exploratory knowledge evaluation. Additional, they may also be used to create customized studies utilizing a follow-up function referred to as PivotCharts. Click on on Insert > PivotChart > PivotChart and PivotTable to make use of this software.
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  • Conditional Formatting: Formatting per your necessities can prevent numerous time analyzing knowledge. It permits you to deal with cells simply as you need—you possibly can delete them, cover them, and even spotlight them based mostly on the required situation. It really works finest for locating outliers, duplicates, and particular patterns. Click on on Conditional Formatting > then select the columns/rows and work.
Conditional Formatting | how to use what if analysis in excel
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  • XLOOKUP: This operate combines HLOOKUP and VLOOKUP, extending the lookup function vertically and horizontally. After getting talked about a variety, utilizing XLOOKUP, you will discover or “lookup” the values throughout the vary. Use the next command =XLOOKUP(‘worth’ , ‘vary’).
XLOOKUP Function | how to use what if analysis in excel
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Totally different Forms of What-If Evaluation In Excel

There are three essential sorts of what-if evaluation in Excel: Situation, Objective Search, and Information Tables.

  • Situation What-If Evaluation: As per Excel terminology, a ‘situation’ is a set of values {that a} worksheet saves and might mechanically substitute within the cells. You’ll be able to tailor totally different teams in a worksheet after which change to any situation you created beforehand.
Scenario What-if Analysis | how to use what if analysis in excel
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  • Objective Search What-If Evaluation: Objective search permits you to discover the enter worth wanted to attain a selected goal or purpose for a calculated consequence. Utilizing one of these what-if evaluation in Excel, you possibly can carry out reverse computations and discover the specified enter stage.
Goal Seek
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  • Information Tables What-If Evaluation: Information tables let you calculate a number of values based mostly on totally different inputs. They assist discover numerous situations and perceive the influence of fixing variables.
Data Tables
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Utilizing What-If Evaluation for Sensitivity Evaluation

The What-If evaluation in Excel can also be extensively utilized in sensitivity evaluation. Right here’s how it’s achieved.

Conducting Sensitivity Evaluation in Excel,

  • Arrange your Excel sheet and think about totally different situations earlier than figuring out the cells you want to embrace.
  • Head to the
  • Within the dialog field, enter the cells (rows and columns) you want to analyze. Enter a variety of values for the enter variable(s).
  • Click on OK to generate a desk comparable to your inputs.
  • Analyze the information desk outcomes to know your mannequin’s sensitivity.

Assessing the Influence of Altering Variables

By observing the sensitivity desk, you possibly can see how altering values influence the calculated outcomes. You should utilize this data to make extra knowledgeable selections, establish areas of danger or uncertainty, and prioritize your concentrate on essentially the most influential variables.

Situation Evaluation with Situation Supervisor

This part discusses the situation what-if evaluation in Excel.

Integrating Situations with Situation Supervisor

Situation Supervisor is a sturdy Excel software extensively used for what-if evaluation. It permits you to create and deal with a number of situations to see how altering variables influence your worksheet. Primarily, it compares a number of units of enter values to watch totally different outcomes.

  • Arrange your Excel sheet and think about totally different situations earlier than figuring out the cells you want to embrace.
  • Head to the “Information” tab and click on on “What-If Evaluation” > “Situation Supervisor.”
  • Within the Add Situation dialog field, present a reputation in your situation to establish it shortly.
  • Choose the specified cells and enter the brand new values.
  • Do the identical for a number of situations by “Including.”
  • After getting created all the specified situations, you possibly can simply change between them.

Analyzing Totally different Situations

Situation Managers helps you to generate a abstract for every situation. It’s also possible to generate a report or show the outcomes visually in a separate worksheet.

Scenario Manager
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What-If Evaluation with Information Tables

Information tables are one of the vital systematic methods to calculate outcomes based mostly on totally different combos of inputs. Right here’s how it’s achieved.

Utilizing Information Tables for What-If Evaluation

  • Arrange your Excel sheet and think about totally different situations earlier than figuring out the cells you want to embrace.
  • Head to the “Information” tab and click on on “What-If Evaluation” > “Information Tables.”
  • Within the dialog field, enter the cells (rows and columns) you want to analyze. Enter a variety of values for the enter variable(s).
  • Click on OK to generate a desk comparable to your inputs.
  • Analyze the outcomes.

Creating and Decoding Information Tables

Using Information Tables for What-If Evaluation permits you to shortly produce totally different outcomes by altering the enter values. This allows you to examine many conditions, consider your mannequin, and base your judgments on the outcomes.

Data Tables | what if analysis data table
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What-If Evaluation with Objective Search

Let’s transfer on to see how Objective Search works.

Making use of Objective Look for What-If Evaluation

With Excel’s proficient Objective Search software, you possibly can carry out What-If Evaluation by figuring out the enter worth required to succeed in a selected goal or purpose for a calculated consequence.

Setting Up Objective Search Evaluation

  • Arrange your Excel sheet and think about totally different situations earlier than figuring out the cells you want to embrace.
  • Head to the Information” tab and click on on “What-If Evaluation” > “Objective Search.”
  • Within the Objective Search dialog field that seems, you’ll see three enter fields:
    • “Set Cell”: output cell that incorporates the calculated consequence. Excel will regulate the worth on this cell.
    • “To worth”: Enter the goal worth you wish to obtain.
    • “By altering cell”: Choose the enter cell you wish to regulate to succeed in the goal worth.
  • When you’ve entered the inputs, click on OK to command Excel to carry out the purpose search calculation. 
  • You’re going to get a show message whether or not an answer was discovered or not. If an answer is discovered, the adjusted worth for the enter cell shall be displayed.
Goal Seek
Supply: Fred Pryor

Utilizing Objective Search to Discover Desired Outcomes

To find out how the modified enter worth affected the calculated consequence, analyze the outcomes. It’s also possible to consider the viability of the Objective Search answer.

Superior What-If Evaluation Methods

Along with the usual knowledge evaluation strategies, Excel additionally affords many superior what-if evaluation instruments, like Solver, A/B Testing, Agent-based Modeling, and extra. Right here, we’re specializing in how Solver is used for advanced what-if analyses.

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Utilizing Solver For Advanced Situations

Solver is a strong Excel software generally used for mathematical modeling, optimization, and constraint evaluation. Right here’s how you should utilize Solver in Excel for advanced situations. 

  • Allow the Solver add-in. Go to “File” > “Choices” > “Add-ins.”
  • Outline the issue. Whether or not it’s maximization, minimization, and so on. 
  • Decide the constraints or limitations that must be happy.
  • After getting outlined the issue, go to the “Information” tab and click on on the “Solver” button within the “Evaluation” group.
  • Within the Solver Parameters dialog field, set the parameters. Specify the target cell, resolution variables, and cells having constraints.
  • Click on on “Resolve” to start out the method. Solver will attempt totally different combos of values for the choice variables to seek out the optimum answer.

Incorporating A number of Variables in What-If Evaluation

Performing a what-if evaluation in Excel with greater than two variables works finest utilizing Situations. A situation can have as many as 32 totally different values, and you may all the time create a number of situations. Right here, an IF situation can produce other IF situations contained in it. These can concurrently check a number of situations and return totally different outcomes for every.

Contrasting it with Information Tables and Objective Search, the previous works finest with one or two variables, and the latter will solely carry out with one variable.

Limitations and Greatest Practices of What-If Evaluation

Regardless of how useful a what-if evaluation is, just a few drawbacks and limitations limit them. For starters, in the event you often work with worksheets, you realize that worksheets do fail—they usually fail numerous occasions. Moreover, there are just a few different limitations; learn on.

Understanding the Limitations of What-If Evaluation

  • Non-intuitive: Usually, a what-if assertion or logic is predicated on intuitions. You depend on your instinct and see how issues prove. However with spreadsheets, this evaluation is non-intuitive. Whether or not you employ purpose search or situations, your evaluation will solely succeed in case your knowledge is exact and your downside is easy.  
  • Specifying Cell References is Cumbersome: To arrange a what-if evaluation for achievement, you’ll must be very exact whereas specifying cells, constraints, management variables, and different parameters. A tiny bit right here and there, and your evaluation may very well be inaccurate.
  • The Evaluation is Solely the First Step: When you’re by means of with the evaluation, it’s good to visualize the outcomes. On the one hand, spreadsheets let you carry out the what-if evaluation shortly. Nevertheless, alternatively, it’ll ask you to generate not one however a number of visualizations to make some sense of the information.

Following Greatest Practices for Correct Evaluation

Regardless of the abovementioned limitations, you possibly can nonetheless use Excel’s what-if evaluation. Comply with the practices under to take care of knowledge integrity, decrease errors, and enhance the reliability of your outcomes.

  • Be exact once you outline your objects. Perceive the questions you are attempting to reply or the issues you are attempting to resolve. 
  • Make sure you collect high-quality, dependable, and related knowledge in your evaluation. 
  • Doc your evaluation—the methodology, sources, benchmarks, and every thing.
  • Use acceptable instruments and strategies. Familiarize your self with the capabilities and limitations of the chosen instruments, guaranteeing they align together with your aims.


Wrapping up, you possibly can see that what-if evaluation in Excel could be very environment friendly in empowering analysts and decision-makers to discover situations, assess dangers, allocate sources, and do far more. By incorporating a number of variables and utilizing superior strategies akin to Solver, knowledge tables, and situation evaluation, Excel allows customers to achieve invaluable insights. When you outline the issue, arrange all of the constraints, and specify the appropriate cells, you’ll get essentially the most out of your what-if evaluation in just a few seconds. 

To be taught extra about the identical, you possibly can have a look at some tutorials and blogs on Analytics Vidhya. It’s a main platform for knowledge science, machine studying, and synthetic intelligence and could be a invaluable useful resource in leveraging what-if evaluation and enhancing analytical capabilities. 

Regularly Requested Questions 

Q1. Why “IF” is utilized in Excel?

A. The IF operate holds a selected function. It’s used to make logical comparisons and see how the result differs from what you count on.

Q2. What’s the distinction between what-if evaluation and sensitivity evaluation?

A. What-if Analyses are referred to as sensitivity analyses as a result of they show you how to decide how delicate the result is to altering variables.

Q3. What’s the IFS system in Excel?

A. The IFS operate sees whether or not a number of IF situations are met concurrently, and a price comparable to the preliminary TRUE situation is returned. 

This autumn. Give some examples of what-if analyses in actual life.

A. What-if evaluation in Excel can be utilized for cost-minimization, cost-effectiveness, cost-utility, danger evaluation, and so on. 

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