This article describes and illustrates the use of two spreadsheet problem-solving tools— Solver and Backsolver. These tools are available in high-end software spreadsheet packages such as Lotus 1-2-3 for Windows and Excel for Windows. The illustrations and examples provided in this article use 1-2-3 for Windows and Windows 3.1 as the operating platform. Any business owner using a DOS based operating system and the Windows Graphical User Interface has access to the Solver and Backsolver. Both tools utilize a form of what-if analysis. Traditional what-if analysis requires that the business owner manually alter the contents of a spreadsheet cell and observe the effects on other dependent cells. This is a trial and error approach, whereas Solver and Backsolver work from the other direction by asking the business owner to specify a goal. The Solver and Backsolver will automatically adjust one or more input cells in order to reach the goal.
Lebsack, Richard R.
"Solver and Backsolver New additions to the manager's computerized tool kit,"
Journal of International Information Management: Vol. 4
, Article 7.
Available at: http://scholarworks.lib.csusb.edu/jiim/vol4/iss2/7