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solverhints - Helpful Tips for Using Microsoft Excel...

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Helpful Tips for Using Microsoft Excel This note was prepared by Professor Sarah Stock Patterson, who has given permission for its use. Please do not copy or re-distribute. Revised August 2001 by James Orlin. Throughout this course, we will be using Microsoft Excel extensively. The purpose of this note is to provide some troubleshooting tips for the often-quirky Solver function and to introduce some built-in functions that you may or may not be familiar with. First, familiarize yourself with Excel Solver. For a tutorial in Excel Solver see the tutorial for Excel Solver at a site developed from Frontline Systems at www.solver.com . C OMMON S OLVER M ODELING P ROBLEMS Errors may arise from either incorrect formulations or from “quirks” within the Solver function. When a problem occurs, check the following possible sources of the error (or errors). 1. You should always start by developing the model on paper first. If you can write down a clear, easily understood model in symbolic form on paper first, then transferring this model to Excel becomes a much simpler task and errors are less likely to arise. 2. Check to make sure you have correctly entered the constraint set. In particular, make sure that the signs on the constraints are consistent with the formulation or symbolic model that you have constructed on paper.
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