The Microsoft Solver Foundation (MSF) provides a rich set of optimization library and a modelling framework, all in an easy to use GUI through Excel. To make it developer friendly, MSF made available its library through API implemented in several programming languages.
Using MSF in Excel is very straight forward, thanks to its well designed user interface. For example, in the classic shipping optimization example, the model inputs are grouped in parameters, constraints, and goals, and are presented in side tabs.
Comparison of Microsoft Solver Foundation and the built-in Excel solver can be found in a previous installment.