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Sensitivity report in Excel – Excelchat

Sensitivity reports can be generated after using the Excel Solver add-in.  Solver, like Goal Seek, is very useful in various fields of study and application.  Solver is a What-if-Analysis tool that solves for an optimal value in the target cell by changing the values in the variable cells.  

Figure 1. Final result:  Sensitivity Report

Where is Excel Solver?

Goal Seek can be accessed through the Data tab > Solver button

Figure 2.  Solver command button in Data tab

Prepare our data

Suppose we want to prepare a mixture in a laboratory, using water and two chemical reagents A and B.  The concentration of the mixture is given by the formula

=(C4*D4+C5*D5)/C7

which can be interpreted as the sum of volume of the pure chemicals divided by the volume of the whole mixture.  

Figure 3.  Sample data for Sensitivity Report

Our goal is to obtain a mixture concentration of 10% by determining the required volume of the reagents, with the concentration of each reagent remaining constant.  We have the following constraints:

  • The volume of the whole mixture must still be equal to 110 liters
  • The available stock for reagent B is only 5 liters

How to generate a sensitivity report?

We must first use the Excel Solver Analysis and after we have performed the calculation, we can then generate the sensitivity report.  We follow these step-by-step procedure:

  • Click Data tab > Solver button
    The Solver Parameters dialog box will appear.  

Figure 4.  Solver Parameters dialog box

  • Enter the following information needed by Solver as shown below:
      • Set objective: D7
      • To: Value of 10%
      • By changing variable cells: C3:C5
      • Subject to the constraints: C5<=5
                                                                  C7 = 110

Figure 5.  Entering the values

  • Click Solve  
  • The Solver Results dialog box will appear.  Tick Keep Solver Solution and under Reports, select Sensitivity.  Click OK.  

Figure 6.  Sensitivity Report option in Solver Results

The time it takes for Solver to complete the calculations might vary depending on the complexity of the problem.  

The optimal solution will then reflect in cells C3 to C5 in our worksheet (Sheet 1 below).  The Sensitivity Report will be generated in another worksheet named Sensitivity Report 1.  

Figure 7.  Excel Solver optimization results  

This is how a Sensitivity Report is presented:

Figure 8.  Output: Sensitivity Report

How to interpret a sensitivity report?

The sensitivity report shows the names, corresponding cells and final values of the variable cells and constraints.  The value of the Lagrange multiplier is a measure of the sensitivity of the constrained objective to changes in the constrained variables.  Excel Solver offers other sensitivity reports and we can further explore this analysis tool to solve more complicated optimization problems and generate more detailed reports.  

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