Compare Frontline's Excel Solver products in this PDF.

When you define your model in a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, your very best choice is Frontline Systems’ super-product, Risk Solver Platform.

• It's an integrated superset of all the other products below, with unique powers for stochastic programming and robust optimization.
• If your budget is limited, you can start with a subset product, which is still more powerful than competitive products, and upgrade at any time with full compatibility to Risk Solver Platform.

If you have a resource allocation problem that can be solved with optimization, and you don't need simulation right now, your best choice is Premium Solver Platform, our most powerful tool for conventional optimization.

• A great runner-up is our best-selling Premium Solver Pro product, which can be upgraded with full compatibility to Premium Solver Platform -- or to Risk Solver Premium or full Risk Solver Platform, depending on your needs.

If you have a risk analysis problem that can be solved with Monte Carlo simulation, or want to manage risk using Simulation Optimization, our Risk Solver Pro product is a great choice:

•  It costs the same or less and gives you more than competitors like Crystal Ball and @RISK Standard.

If your problem involves an optimization model of some size, let's consider the last two questions we posed earlier:

• What type of problem (linear programming, nonlinear optimization, etc.) do you want to solve?
• What size of problem (number of decision variables and constraints) do you want to solve?

#### Problem Types

The type of optimization problem you have depends on:

• The types of mathematical relationships (e.g. linear, nonlinear or nonsmooth) between your objective and constraints and your decision variables.
• The types of decision variables (real-valued or integer) you have in your model.
• The type of solution you want -- globally optimal or locally optimal -- for nonlinear optimization problems.

If you're not sure what type of problem you have, click on Optimization Problem Types for an in-depth discussion.  But you may want to start with Frontline Systems' Premium Solver Platform, because it bundles together several Solvers that together will handle all types of optimization problems up to certain size limits.  What's more, Premium Solver Platform uses our PSI Technology to automatically determine your problem type, and select the best Solver.  (With Premium Solver Pro, you must determine this yourself.)  Click on Solvers for Excel Users for further information.

#### Problem Sizes

The size of your problem is measured by the number of decision variables and the number of constraints.  If you have not yet defined your model in these terms, you may not know its size -- see below for ideas on estimating problem size.  You can start with our Premium Solver Platform, and if your problem ultimately exceeds its size limits, you can add a "plug-in" Solver Engine that handles larger-scale problems of the appropriate type.  If your problem is relatively small, you can save money with our Premium Solver Pro -- but Premium Solver Pro is not "expandable" with plug-in Solver Engines.  Click on Solvers for Excel Users for further information.

Often -- though not always -- the number of decision variables will be greater than the number of constraints and will determine the "size limit;" also, it may easier to estimate the number of decision variables up-front.  The number of integer decision variables is often a critical factor, because such decisions make the problem much harder to solve.  To understand what kind of decision variables you may have, take our Solver Tutorial, paying special attention to the page Defining a Model.