How to Use Excel’s Scenario Manager (Step-By-Step)

Written by co-founder Kasper Langmann, Microsoft Office Specialist.

Have you been in a situation when you wanted to have different values in the same cell?

Chances are, you created another sheet for it or worse, created a new file to compare your different scenarios.

But did you know that you can Excel scenario manager for that? 💡

In this article, let’s discuss what the scenario manager is in Excel and how to use it.

Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto

What is the scenario manager in Excel?

The scenario manager is one of the three tools, together with ‘Goal Seek’ and ‘Data Table’, included in the ‘What-If Analysis’ toolset in Excel.

Using the scenario manager enables you to store and show multiple versions (or scenarios) of your data, in the same cells.

Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto

This is useful for a lot of things such as in:

  • Marketing
  • Finance
  • Budgeting
  • Sensitivity analysis

In a way, the scenario manager has similar uses to data tables as both will allow you to project possible results using a set of values.

As you will see below, creating and showing different scenarios is as easy as using different sheets. 😊

Get your FREE exercise file

Before you start:

Throughout this guide, you need a data set to practice.

I’ve included one for you (for free).

Download it right below!

Download the FREE Exercise File

Download exercise file

How to add a scenario in Excel?

For this tutorial, let’s use a simple set so you would be able to see the difference between different scenarios.

Example data for the scenario manager tutorial

In this case, we would want to change all the “A” variables into “B”:

  • Scenario B
  • Primary value B
  • Secondary value B
  • Total B

To start, select the cells with the values you want to change.

Note that you can only select a maximum of 32 changing cells.

In our example, it’s B2, B4, B5, and B7.

How to select cells

Then, follow these steps:

  • Go to the ‘Data’ tab
  • Click the ‘What-If Analysis’ button
  • Select ‘Scenario Manager…’
How to open the scenario manager

On the ‘Scenario Manager’ window, click on the ‘Add…’ button.

How to add a new scenario

On the next window, give your scenario a title or a name. (Let’s name it “Scenario B”.)

The reason why the first step in this is selecting the cells is so that you don’t have to do it in this window. But if you want, you can by entering the cells on the ‘Changing cells’ field or selecting the cells yourself by clicking on the up arrow button.

Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto

If you like, you could also protect your scenarios by preventing any changes or hiding it from others.

Click on the ‘OK’ button once you’re ready to proceed.

How to create a new scenario in Excel

After that, a new window will appear where you can enter the values for your new scenario.

Click the ‘OK’ button to proceed.

How to enter new values on a scenario

That’s it! You just created a new scenario in Excel! 👍

What options are available in scenario manager

As you can see, you can either add, delete, edit, merge, or summarize your scenarios.

Summarizing your scenarios would be creating a data table or a pivot table report of all your scenarios.

How to show a scenario?

To show a scenario that you have created, all you have to do is go back to the ‘Scenario Manager’ window (if you closed it).

Then, select the scenario and click on the ‘Show’ button.

How to show a scenario in Excel

Immediately, you will now see that all the changing cells have been replaced with their values on the scenario that you have created.

How to create a new scenario in Excel

Easy, right!? 😉

Wrapping things up…

Although we have used a simple example, you could apply the scenario manager into complex spreadsheets like in budgeting or in marketing.

The idea behind this tool is simple — to allow you to create and show different scenarios to give you a comparative overview.

If you would like to test it out yourself, feel free to download the exercise file included in this tutorial and simply follow the steps outlined here. 😊

Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto