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Microsoft Announces the Return of Solver for Excel 2008

Microsoft Announces the Return of Solver for Excel 2008

by , 2:05 PM EDT, June 27th, 2008

The linear programming Solver function in Excel 2004 had to be dropped in Office 2008 for Mac because it depended on Visual Basic for Applications (VBA). On Thursday, Microsoft announced that the MacBu is actively working to bring it back in a future update and that it is a top priority.

Microsoft explained in the MacBU team blog "First, Solver ... enables you to do linear programming in Excel, which makes it enormously useful for cracking business problems around scheduling ... capacity planning ... or finding the minimum or maximum value for a problem, given certain constraints."

Now that's it's turned up missing in Excel 2008, the two questions they have received are "What happened to Solver?" and "What should I do to get Solver functionality?" The MacBU answered as follows:

"Solver was not included in Excel 2008 because it depends on Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) to function. When we removed VBA from Office 2008, it meant that we also removed Solver.

Now, on to the second question: 'what should I do to get Solver functionality?' Today, the best option for people who need Solver is to run Excel 2004 and Excel 2008 side-by-side, and switch to the 2004 environment for workbooks that require Solver.

However, we have been hearing loud and clear from our customers, particularly in education, that the side-by-side solution is suboptimal. For many people, Solver is a critical and necessary tool for coursework, and they want to work with Solver natively in the Excel 2008 environment.

We definitely hear you, and we're working on it.

The Excel team is actively working to bring Solver to Excel 2008 as part of a future update. We have two distinct technical approaches and are exploring both. Once we have established which is the best option and have code that meets our quality bar we will announce a timeframe for availability here on Mojo. [TMO emphasis added.]

In the meantime, please know that this is a top priority for the Excel team."

TMO will continue to monitor the progress of this project.

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