Solve optimization models in Excel Online and Excel on iPad, upward compatible from Solver in Excel.

With the Solver add-in, created by Frontline Systems, developers of the Solver in Microsoft Excel, you can define and solve optimization problems in your Excel workbook, using Excel Online in Office 365, Excel on iPad, Excel 2013, or Excel 2016.  Watch a 5-minute demo of this add-in on our YouTube channel.

Your model will be solved in the cloud.  Note that this means your model must be stored in the cloud, specifically in an Office 365 or SharePoint document library, or in OneDrive or OneDrive for Business.  The Solver add-in can be used in Excel 2013 and Excel 2016, but its backend server cannot access workbooks on your local hard disk.

Solver models that you may already have, created in old or new versions of Microsoft Excel, are automatically recognized by this Solver add-in.  You can also define a completely new Solver model and solve it using this add-in; however, models created with this new add-in won’t be recognized automatically by the desktop Excel Solver.

All the solving methods and options available in the Excel Solver can be used:

  • Simplex LP Solver
  • GRG Nonlinear Solver
  • Evolutionary Solver
  • Integer and binary constraints

For a complete description, visit our Excel Solver Help and follow the steps to get the Solver add-in.  You can create an Answer Report and/or a Sensitivity Report in Excel 2016, and soon in Excel Online or Excel on iPad, as long as Solver finds a feasible solution.  But since VBA is not available online, Solver VBA macros cannot be used to control this Solver add-in.  Otherwise, all the features, Solver Result messages, cautions and advice described in Excel Solver Help also apply to the Solver add-in.

For free use by everyone, problem size limits in this Solver add-in are the same as in the Excel Solver (200 decision variables and 100 constraints in addition to bounds on the variables). Limits on Solver subproblems and iterations operate just as they do in the Excel Solver, but the backend server currently limits solving time to 30 seconds. If you are using Frontline’s enhanced Solvers for desktop Excel and you ‘publish’ your model to Excel Online, you can solve much larger problems, use additional Solver engines and options, and use more solving time with this add-in, up to the limits of your desktop license.


  • Add-ins must be inserted into your Excel workbook to be used.  To insert an add-in in Excel Online, you must be in Edit mode.
  • You can see a Solver model in read-only mode, but before you change options or selections, ensure that you are in Edit mode.
  • Before you click the Solve button, ensure that your workbook has been saved using File Save As.  (In Edit mode your workbook is auto-saved, but only at intervals of about 30 seconds.)

When you click the Solve button in the add-in, your model is queued for solution by Frontline’s backend RASON® Server, running on Microsoft Azure.  This has two implications:

  • The RASON Server workers have a finite capacity, as currently provisioned (and paid for) by Frontline Systems.  During periods of heavy use, there may be delays in solving.
  • To solve your model, your Excel workbook must be temporarily copied to Azure storage (this copy is deleted after solving).  Read our Privacy Policy for details.

If you need priority response time or you need to solve challenging large-scale conventional or stochastic optimization models -- up to the state of the art -- please contact Frontline Systems at or 775-831-0300 about our enhanced Solvers and desktop + cloud licenses.