Frequently Asked Questions

Common Questions From Spreadsheet Users When Considering Switching to GoldSim

  • Q: I already know how to use a spreadsheet. Won't learning a tool like GoldSim take a long time?

    Quantitative spreadsheet users should be able to come up to speed with GoldSim relatively quickly. GoldSim is extremely well-documented, has a user-friendly interface, and has a built-in Tutorial to help you get started. You can also take advangage of a very detailed free, self-paced online course when you are ready to learn all the details.

    Note that the time you invest in learning GoldSim will be rewarded many times over. Your models will be easier to build and maintain; easier to communicate to others; and capable of representing complex dynamics that cannot be represented in a spreadsheet.

  • Q: I use a Monte Carlo add-in to my spreadsheet. How does GoldSim compare?

    A number of spreadsheet add-ins, such as @RISK by Palisades Corporation and Crystal Ball by Oracle, allow you to define spreadsheet cells as probability distributions and conduct Monte Carlo simulations within spreadsheets cells. Althogh these tools provide an incremental improvement over simple spreadsheets, because spreadsheets cannot easily represent dynamic systems, it is difficult to represent stochastic processes (e.g., rainfall) and random events (e.g., accidents, failures). GoldSim was specifically designed to simulate such processes, and has a wide variety of powerful probabilistic simulation capabilities.

  • Q: I've built some complex functions and routines in VBA that my spreadsheet models uses. Can I utilize these in GoldSim?

    Yes. GoldSim allows you to dynamically link a spreadsheet directly into your model. In the simplest use of a such a spreadsheet link, you can use the spreadsheet as a data source. In addition to importing data from a spreadsheet, however, you can also use a spreadsheet as a custom element (with specific functionality). That is, you can dynamically send data from GoldSim to a spreadsheet, force the spreadsheet to recalculate, and then retrieve (updated) data from the spreadsheet back into GoldSim during a simulation (e.g., every timestep).

  • Q: I have a lot of data that I store in spreadsheets. Can I still access this in GoldSim?

    Yes, GoldSim allows you to dynamically link a spreadsheet directly into your model. In the simplest use of a such a spreadsheet link, you can use the spreadsheet as a data source. You can also readily export GoldSim results to a spreadsheet.

  • Q: My manager/client/customer is comfortable with spreadsheets. How do I share my GoldSim models with them without forcing them to buy and learn GoldSim?

    The GoldSim Dashboard Authoring Module provides a specialized set of tools that allows you to create custom designed interfaces, or "dashboards" for your models to make them accessible to non-technical users. Models created using the GoldSim Authoring tools can be saved as Player files and subsequently distributed, viewed and run using GoldSim Player, which can be downloaded for free from the GoldSim website.

    Such an interface allows a model to be easily used by someone without requiring them to be familiar with either the GoldSim modeling environment or the details of the specific model. Dashboards built using GoldSim Authoring greatly improve your ability to communicate your model structure and results.

    In effect, the GoldSim Dashboard Authoring Module turns GoldSim into a high-level programming language, which you can use to create custom simulation applications for distribution to end users who may not necessarily be modelers.

  • Q: I often build new models that are largely based on existing models. Can GoldSim models easily be reused?

    GoldSim was specifically designed to facilitate reuse of submodels. GoldSim's hierarchical interface encourages such development. Reusing an existing component is as easy as cutting it from one model and pasting it into another.