Excel Help

What is Excel?

Excel is a spreadsheet program used for business-type calculations. It is part of the Microsoft Office package. We are using it in Math 150 as a fancy graphing calculator. You will not be tested on your knowledge of Excel, but you will need to use it as a tool for some assignments. You are allowed to use Excel during tests, also.

Learning to Use Excel

During the weekly lab meetings we will teach how to do the specific tasks that needed for the course if requested. There are also some tutorials that come with the textbook; we will discuss them below. You can also get help inside Excel ( Click the 'Help' on the tool bar). This is more for getting help on specific questions.

The Excel Tutorials

There are some Excel tutorials that come with the textbook. You can find them in MyMathLab.

We also put together some of our own tutorials that correspond to the Excel assignments. Look for links to those in the weekly lesson plans.

The Solver

One of the tools that we use in this class is the Solver. It is installed in the computer labs in Carver 449 and Carver 250, but maybe not in other labs or on your own machine.

To install the solver in Excel 2011, click 'Tools --> Add-Ins'. Within the Addin box, check ‘Solver.xlam’ then hit ‘OK’.

Goal Seek

Goal Seek is another tool like the Solver . It is usually pre-installed in your Excel.

Instructions for using Goal Seek are in the Excel 1 tutorial and in the Week 4 Lesson Plan. Make sure you pay attention to the instructions below on how to increase accuracy.

To find Goal Seek in Excel 2011, go to Data -> What If Analysis -> Goal Seek.

Increase/decrease Accuracy of Calculation for Goal Seek

One problem with Goal Seek is that it has very low precision by default. In order to do some of the Excel homework problems, you have to increase the accuracy. This is done by setting an option called Maximum Change to a small value. The default value is 0.001, which only gives you 3 decimals accuracy. Set it to 0.0000001 or something similar.

To set this variable in Excel 2011, go to Menu Bar, then click 'Formulas' -> Settings -> Calculation Options -> Maximum Change.


Last updated: Wednesday, August 5, 2015