Last Updated: 4/14/2014
See the "TESTING THE PREMIUM SOLVER APP" section below for step-by-step instructions.
The Premium Solver App is used to define and solve optimization models. It is upward compatible from, but much more powerful than the Solver in desktop Excel, and the Solver App currently listed in the Office Store, both of which we developed. The user interface and operation of the Premium Solver App is very similar to the Solver App. Like the Solver App, the Premium Solver App uses OAuth to access an Excel workbook in a SharePoint document library.
Important to know:
-- The Premium Solver App will work in both Excel 2013 and the Excel Web App / Excel Online, but its backend server is designed to solve models (only) in Excel workbooks that are stored in a SharePoint document library. (If an Excel workbook is stored on a user's local hard disk, the backend server has no way to access it. The Premium Solver App detects this, and advises the user to solve the model using the standard Solver or desktop Premium Solver in Excel.)
-- Because the Excel Web App currently lacks an "Insert App" command, to start you must use Excel 2013 to insert the Premium Solver App into a workbook, then save the workbook to a SharePoint document library. When you next open the workbook in the Excel Web App, the Premium Solver App will appear, at the place where it was embedded. The Premium Solver App does not solve workbooks that have not been saved to a SharePoint document library - you should see an alert in the app in this case.
USER INTERFACE NOTE:
The Premium Solver App UI is designed to closely resemble the standard Excel Solver UI, within the constraints of the App framework. This Solver UI has been available to all Excel users for the last 23 years, and there are at least 80 books that include pictures of it, hundreds and images and dozens of videos on the Web about it.
-- To solve the model, click the Solve button. Solving is done via a backend server, which uses OAuth to access the Excel workbook in the SharePoint document library. An hourglass should appear in the content pane area, with a note that you may be prompted to Trust the app, while solving takes place on the backend server.
-- On your first solve, you should see a message and button inside the App's window, where you are asked to trust the app. Click the Trust It button. Note -- This UI approach was settled during testing of the Solver App in July 2013. The Premium Solver App uses the same UI.
-- When solving is finished, you should see the Variable cells on the worksheet update with new values (and the worksheet recalculate with the optimal solution), and a Solver Result message should appear in blue at the bottom of the content pane.
-- The Solver Result messages are identical to the ones displayed by the standard Excel Solver, hence are familiar to existing Solver users.
TESTING THE PREMIUM SOLVER APP:
You will need these steps to test the Solver App:
Step 1: To save time later in testing, create or obtain an example Solver model. We recommend following these steps:
Visit http://www.solver.com and login using the fields in the upper right corner. You can enter:
After logging in, visit https://www.solver.com/all-examples. Click one of the links on this page, for example "Production Models," then click to download Production Examples.xlsx.
Step 2: Insert the Premium Solver App into a test workbook using Excel 2013.
- Start Excel 2013.
- Open the test workbook, e.g. Production Examples.xlsx.
- Click on a worksheet other than the Summary worksheet, for example Alloc1.
- Insert the Premium Solver App, using the Insert tab, Apps for Office – See All... .
Each of the worksheets (other than Summary) in this workbook has a Solver model, defined earlier using the standard Solver in desktop Excel. The Premium Solver App will automatically recognize this Solver model, i.e. its selections of Objective, Variables and Constraints. If you used Production Examples.xlsx you should see "$D$16" listed in the "Set Objective" text box.
You should insert the Premium Solver App on each worksheet where you want to use it.
After inserting the Premium Solver App where you want it (e.g. in a blank area of the worksheet), save the Excel workbook (e.g. Production Examples.xlsx) to your SharePoint document library.
Step 3: Test the Premium Solver App in Excel Online.
- In your browser, navigate to the SharePoint document library where you saved the test document, e.g. https://yoursite.sharepoint.com/Shared%20Documents/Forms/AllItems.aspx.
- Open the test document in Excel Online by clicking on its name.
- Enable the Solver App if necessary.
- Verify that the content in the Solver App is consistent with what was seen in Step 2, for example the value in the "Set Objective" text box.
There's no need to do anything before solving, but you could change the Objective cell or Variables (By Changing cells) by clicking in their edit boxes, or Add, Delete or Change constraints by selecting one in the list box and clicking the appropriate button. Save the workbook after any such change, otherwise the changes will not be accounted for when solving.
- Click the Solve button.
- If prompted, grant trust to the Solver App.
- An hourglass icon will be displayed while the model solves.
- When finished, you should see the Variable cells on the worksheet update with new values, and a Solver Result message should appear at the bottom of the content pane.