Scenario Manager in Excel

Updated on January 2, 2024
Article byJeevan A Y
Edited byAshish Kumar Srivastav
Reviewed byDheeraj Vaidya, CFA, FRM

Scenario manager is a what-if analysis tool available in Excel that works on different scenarios. It uses a group of ranges that impact an individual output. Therefore, we can use it to make different scenarios, such as bad and medium, depending on the values present in the range that affect the result.

What is a Scenario Manager in Excel?

How to Use Scenario Manager Analysis Tool in Excel?

Scenario manager is very simple and easy to use in Excel. Let us understand the working of the scenario manager tool in Excel with some examples.

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You can download this Scenario Manager Excel Template here – Scenario Manager Excel Template

Scenario Manager in Excel – Example #1

A simple example could be your monthly family budget. You will spend on food, travel, entertainment, clothes, etc., and see how these affect your overall budget.

Step 1: Create a below table that shows your list of expenses and income sources.

Scenario Manager - Step 1
  • In cell B5,you have total income.
Scenario Manager - Step 1-1
  • In cell B17,you have total expenses for the month.
Scenario Manager - Step 1-2
  • In cell B19,total money left.
Scenario Manager - Step 1-3

You are ending up with only 5,550 after all the expenses. So, it would help if you cut your cost to save more for the future.

Step 2: From the top of Excel, click the Data menu > On the “Data” menu, locate the “Data Tools” panel > Click on the “What-If-Analysis” item and select the “Scenario Manager” in Excel from the menu.

Scenario Manager - Step 2

Step 3: When you click on the Scenario Manager below, the dialog box will open.

Scenario Manager - Step 3

Step 4: You need to create a new scenario. So, click on the Add button. Then, you will get the below dialog box.

Scenario Manager - Step 4

By default, it shows cell C10, which means it is the currently active cell. So, first, type the scenario name in the box as the Actual Budget.

Scenario Manager - Step 4-1

Now, you need to enter which cells your excel sheet will be changing. Nothing will change in this first scenario because this is my actual budget for the month. Still, we need to specify the cells that will be changing.

Now, try to reduce the food expenses and clothes expenses. These are in cells B15 and B13,respectively. Now, the add scenario dialog box should look like this.

Scenario Manager - Step 4-2

Click “OK.” Excel will ask you for some values. Since we do not want any changes to this scenario, click “OK.”

Scenario Manager - Step 4-3

Now, you will be taken back to the scenario manager box. Now, the window will look like this.

Scenario Manager - Step 4-4

Now, one scenario is done and dusted. Next, create a second scenario where you must change your food and clothes expenses.

Click the Add button and give a “Scenario Name” as “Plan 2”. “Changing the cell” will be B15 and B13 (food and cloth expenses).

Scenario Manager - Step 4-5

Now, below, the “Scenario Values” dialog box opens again. This time, we want to change the values. Enter the same ones as in the image below:

Scenario Manager - Step 4-6

These are the new values for our new scenario, Plan 2. Click “OK.” Now, you are back to the Scenario Manager window. Now, we have two scenarios named after Actual Budget and Plan 2.

Scenario Manager - Step 4-7

Click the Add button and give a scenario name as “Plan 3.“Changing  cells” will be B15 and B13 (food and cloth expenses).

Scenario Manager - Step 4-8

Now, below, the “Scenario Values” dialog box opens again. This time, we do want to change the values. Insert the same ones as in the image below:

Scenario Manager - Step 4-9

These are the new values for our new scenario, Plan 3. Click “OK.” Now you are back to the “Scenario Manager” window. Now, you have three scenarios named after Actual Budget, Plan 2, and Plan 3.

Scenario Manager - Step 4-10

As you can see, we have our “Actual Budget,” “Plan 2,” and “Plan 3.” With “Plan 2” selected, click the “Show” button at the bottom. The values in your Excel sheet will change, and we will calculate the new budget. The image below shows what it looks like.

Scenario Manager - Step 4-11

Click on the Actual Budget and the Show button to see the differences. It will display initial values.

Scenario Manager - Step 4-12

Do the same for “Plan 2” to look at the changes.

Scenario Manager - Step 4-13

So, scenario manager in Excel allows you to set different values and identify the significant changes.

How to Create a Summary Report in Excel?

After adding different scenarios, we can create a summary report in Excel from this scenario manager. To create a summary report in Excel, follow the below steps.

  • Click on the Data tab from the Excel menu bar.
  • Click on What-If-Analysis.
  • Under the what-if-analysis, click Scenario Manager in Excel.
  • Now, click on Summary.
Scenario Manager (Summary Report) - Step 1
  • Click “OK” to create the summary report in Excel.
Scenario Manager - Step 4-14
  • It will create the summary in the new sheet, as shown in the below image.
Scenario Manager - Summary Report

Scenario Manager in Excel Example #2: Take the below data and create new scenarios.

Take the below data table and create new scenarios.

The formula used in cell B4 is =B2*B3 & in cell B11 is = B4 – B9.

Scenario Manager - example 2

In addition, your scenarios will look like the one below.

Scenario Manager - Summary Report 2

This article has been a guide to what is the Scenario Manager in Excel. Here, we walk through examples of scenario managers in Excel and create a summary report along with downloadable Excel templates. You may also look at these useful functions in Excel: –