Scenario Manager in Excel

How to use Scenario Manager in Excel

Scenario Manager is a great tool to help you keep track of different scenarios you want to have with your data. Say, for example, you have your current income along with expenses in a spreadsheet. You want to figure out some ways to save more money, either by reducing expenses, increasing your income, or both. With Scenario Manager, you can try out different scenarios of your data and compare them side-by-side. It’s one of those handy little features of Excel hardly anyone knows about.

Scenario Manager in a NutShell

Simply put, if you need to do some analysis on several different scenarios with your data, Scenario Manager will help you make it quick work. Imagine that you are weighting the benefits of 3 different job opportunities. Maybe the one that pays the most money requires the most travel, costing you more in gas and auto expenses. Maybe another one is where you would work from home, which would reduce gas expenses, but this would increase your electricity, water, and food costs (assuming an office job has free snacks). And maybe the third job offer has the same pay and travel as your current job, but comes with a sign-on bonus.

Which job should you choose? And how would you organize the data to weight the pros / cons of each job? You could copy/paste several tables, which is one viable option. However, if you have charts tied to this main table of yours, you have a lot more work to do to update the charts to review the different scenarios. With Scenario Manager, you can enter in your data and save it as a scenario. Then you can modify the data and save it as another scenario. You can go back and review previous scenarios and do a full comparison of all scenarios to see which option is best.

Check out this video to learn more about Scenario Manager:


In this video you’ll notice that we use another trick that we covered about setting multiple named ranges at the same time. It’s a very handy feature that can save you a lot of time.

Have some other uses for Scenario Manager that we didn’t cover in the video? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below!

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