Chapter 2

Working with Data-Analysis Tools


Bullet Creating basic and two-input data tables

Bullet Analyzing your data using the Goal Seek tool

Bullet Creating and running scenarios

Bullet Optimizing your data with the Solver tool

When it comes to data analysis, you're best off getting Excel to perform most — or, ideally, all — of the work. After all, Excel is a complex, powerful, and expensive piece of software, so why shouldn’t it take on the lion’s share of the data-analysis chores? Sure, you still have to get your data into the worksheet (although a bit later in the book, I talk about ways to get Excel to help with that chore, too), but after you’ve done that, it’s time for Excel to get busy.

In this chapter, you investigate some built-in Excel tools that will handle most of the data analysis dirty work. I show you how to build two different types of data tables; give you the details on using the very cool Goal Seek tool; delve into scenarios and how to use them for fun and profit; and take you on a tour of the powerful Solver add-in.

Working with Data Tables

If you want to study the effect ...

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