Operations Research Models and Methods /Computation / Mathematical Programming

Excel Solver


All the models formed through the Math Programming add-in have the solution option of the Solver add-in that comes with Excel. To use this add-in it must be installed on your computer. If it is installed the item "Solver" appears on the Tools menu of Excel. If the item does not appear on the Tools menu, use the custom installation procedure on the Excel CD to install it.

The 97-98 version of the Math Programming add-in has an option to use the Solver add-in automatically. If this automatic option is chosen and the Excel Solver is the method of solution, models are automatically loaded into the Solver. Pressing the Solve button on a model worksheet, automatically calls the Solver to obtain the solution.

To use the automatic option, you must establish contact with the Solver. If you attempt to create a model with the Excel Solver chosen, the program will leave the model dialog with a message to establish contact with Solver. To do this, choose the Solver item from the Tools menu. The Solver dialog box should appear. Simply close the dialog. This action creates the desired link. Further attempts to build models will not be interrupted with the message. This is an awkward procedure for establishing the automatic operation, but I couldn't find a better way. If anyone has a suggestion for a better procedure, please let me know.

The default option for Solver operation is Manual. At every session in which you plan to use the Automatic option, you must first establish the connection to the Solver by opening its dialog box. Then change the option by clicking the automatic key in any of the math programming dialog boxes.

This new feature was difficult to accomplish. Although I have tested it, you may have difficulty on your computer. If so, switch to the more reliable Manual option. Send me an e-mail detailing the situation if failure occurs.

All the model dialog boxes have a button called Automatic. Clicking on the button allows the choice between the Automatic and manual options. The dialog boxes for the two selections are below. The default option is the Manual Solver.



Mathematical Programming

by Paul A. Jensen and Jon Bard, University of Texas, Copyright by the Authors