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Excel Tip – Solver Add On

Posted by Sara Duong, Consultant on May 3, 2022 12:37:13 PM
Sara Duong, Consultant
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You find yourself working with columns and columns of data for a client. In this particular scenario, you need to find a combination of transactions that total a certain amount. As you can imagine, this can be endless amounts of combinations to iterate through. There is a data trick using an Excel add-in called Solver. Here’s how it works...

  1. In Excel, go to the file tab and click Options
  2. Under Add-Ins, select Solver Add-In and click Go

  3. A window will pop up, check Solver Add-In and click Ok.

  4. Now you can see the Solver function on your toolbar (you may need to scroll all the way to the right)

Here’s how to use Solver to solve the scenario described above.
      • Situation:
          • List of transactions and amounts
          • Need to identify transactions that will total $505
      • Here are the steps:
          1. In Excel, have one column for amount and add 2 columns: Multiplier and Product.
              • Multiplier will start with 1 in all the cells
              • Product is the product of Amount and Multiplier
          2. Add 3 cells
              • Target = this is the target value, $505
              • Sum = this is the sum of the Product Column, $4,550 (Note: make sure this is a Sum formula and not hardcoded)
              • Difference = this is the difference between Target – Sum = - $4,045

          3. Now let’s use the Solver: Click on the Solver Add-In

          4. Set the Objective: Difference
          5. Set To: Value of 0
          6. Set By Changing Variable Cells: select your Multiplier column
          7. Subject to the Constraints: add 3 constraints:
              • Select the cells in the Multiplier column <=1
              • Select the cells in the Multiplier column = Integer
              • Select the cells in the Multiplier column >=0
          8. Select a Solving Method = Simplex LP
          9. Click Solve then click Ok

          10. Here is the result
              • The Solver iterated through many combinations and then kept 1 in the transactions that totaled to the Target amount.

Let us know if this helped you with your data needs. Feel free to reach out to Concentrus for any data analysis or migration needs.


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Tags: NetSuite, NetSuite How To's, NetSuite Tips, data, Calculate Total, Excel