Comparison of risk analysis Microsoft Excel add-ins

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The following is a comparison of various add-in packages available to do Monte Carlo probabilistic modeling and risk analysis. Add-ins covered are for Microsoft Excel on Windows. Mac software and tools for other platforms, such as R or Matlab are not included.


Decision-making software is reviewed separately.

General information

NameCompany nameOffice location(s)Product first releasedLast stable version Software license License options System Requirements Spreadsheet used
@RISK Industrial [1] Palisade CorporationAustralia, Japan, UK, USA19877.5 Proprietary Single user, network license Windows XP+ Excel 32-bit (Excel 2007+), Excel 64-bit
@RISK Professional [1] Palisade CorporationAustralia, Japan, UK, USA19877.5 Proprietary Single user, network license Windows XP+ Excel 32-bit (Excel 2007+), Excel 64-bit
Argo [2] Booz Allen HamiltonUSA20124.1FreewareN/AWindows XP+ Excel 32-bit (Excel 2007+), Excel 64-bit
Crystal Ball [3] Oracle CorporationUSA198711.1.4.4 Proprietary Single userWindows 2003+ Excel 32-bit (Excel 2003+), Excel 64-bit
Crystal Ball + Decision Optimizer [3] Oracle CorporationUSA198711.1.4.4 Proprietary Single userWindows 2003+ Excel 32-bit (Excel 2003+), Excel 64-bit
DiscoverSim + SigmaXL [4] SigmaXL Inc.Canada20122.1 Proprietary Single userWindows Vista+ Excel 32-bit (Excel 2010+), Excel 64-bit
MC FLO [5] MC FLOsimSwitzerland2016Fátima III Proprietary Single userWindows 2000+ Excel 32-bit (Excel 2010+), Excel 64-bit
ModelRisk Complete [6] Vose SoftwareBelgium, USA20086.1 Proprietary Single user, network license Windows XP+ Excel 32-bit (Excel 2003+), Excel 64-bit
ModelRisk Basic [6] Vose SoftwareBelgium, USA20086.1FreewareSingle userWindows XP+ Excel 32-bit (Excel 2003+), Excel 64-bit
Monte Carnival [7] Monte CarnivalUSA20181.0 Proprietary Single UserWindows 95+ Excel 32-bit (Excel 1997+), Excel 64-bit
Quantum XL [8] SigmazoneUSA20103.50.04 Proprietary Single userWindows XP+ Excel 32-bit (Excel 2000+), Excel 64-bit
Risk AnalyzerAdd-ins.comUSA200311.02 Proprietary Single userWindows 2000+ Excel 32-bit (Excel 97+), Excel 64-bit
Risk Kit Suite [9] Wehrspohn GmbH & Co. KGGermany20077.2 Proprietary Free, single user, network license Windows 2000+ Excel 32-bit (Excel 2003+), Excel 64-bit
Risk Solver Pro [10] Frontline SystemsUSA200715.0 Proprietary Single user, network license Windows XP+ Excel 32-bit (Excel 2003+), Excel 64-bit, Excel Online
Risk Solver Pro + Premium Solver Pro [10] Frontline SystemsUSA200715.0 Proprietary Single user, network license Windows XP+ Excel 32-bit (Excel 2003+), Excel 64-bit, Excel Online
RiskAmp Personal [11] Structured Data LLCUSA200511.5 Proprietary Single userWindows 2000+ Excel 32-bit (Excel 2003+), Excel 64-bit
RiskAmp Professional [11] Structured Data LLCUSA200511.5 Proprietary Single userWindows 2000+ Excel 32-bit (Excel 2003+), Excel 64-bit
SAFE TOOLBOXES [12] Safe Quantitative TechnologiesUSA20161.0 Proprietary Single userWindows 2000+ Excel 32-bit (Excel 2003+), Excel 64-bit
Simtools xla [13] Roger Myerson, University of ChicagoUSA?3.31aFreewareN/AWindows 95+ Excel 32-bit (Excel 5+)
SimulAr [14] Luciano MachainArgentina?2.5FreewareN/AWindows XP+ Excel 32-bit (Excel 2003+)
Simulation Master Premium [15] Vortarus Technologies LLCUSA201718.12.03 Proprietary Single userWindows XP+ Excel 32-bit (Excel 2007+), Excel 64-bit
Simulation Master Standard [15] Vortarus Technologies LLCUSA201718.09.01 Proprietary Single userWindows XP+ Excel 32-bit (Excel 2007+), Excel 64-bit
Tukhi [16] KALX, LLCUSA? 95+ Excel 32-bit (Excel 5+)
YASAI [17] and YASAIw [18] Rutgers University and Washington State Department of EcologyUSA20012.4, 2.0w29Freeware, Open source N/AWindows 95+ Excel 32-bit (Excel 97+), Excel 64-bit

Technical specification I

NameDistribution fittingCorrelation fitting [19] Time series fittingDecision treesOptimizer includedDatabase connectivity VBA calls to functions [20] C++ calls to functions [21] Six sigma supported
@RISK IndustrialYesYesYesPrecisionTree optionYesNoYesYesYes
@RISK ProfessionalYesYesNoPrecisionTree optionNoNoYesYesYes
Crystal BallYesNoYesNoNoNoYesNoYes
Crystal Ball + Decision OptimizerYesNoYesNoYesNoYesNoYes
Crystal Ball EPM + Decision OptimizerYesNoYesNoYesYesYesNoYes
DiscoverSim + SigmaXLYesYesNoNoYesNoNoNoYes
MC FLOYesYesYesNoNoNoYesNoNo
ModelRisk CompleteYesYesYesNoNoYesYesYesYes
ModelRisk BasicYesYesYesNoNoNoYesYesNo
Monte CarnivalNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNo
Quantum XLYesNoNoNoYesNoNoNoYes
Risk AnalyzerNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNo
Risk Kit SuiteYesYesYesNoNoNoYesYes [22] No
Risk Solver ProYesNoXLMiner optionYesNoXLMiner optionYesYesYes
Risk Solver Pro + Premium Solver ProYesNoXLMiner optionYesYesXLMiner optionYesYesYes
RiskAmp PersonalNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNo
RiskAmp ProfessionalNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNo
Simtools xlaNoNoNoFunctions / macrosNoNoYesNoNo
Simulation Master PremiumYesYesYesDTace optionYesNoYesNoNo
Simulation Master StandardNoNoNoDTace optionNoNoNoNoNo

Technical specification II

NameConverters forProbability calculation functions [23] UDF error analysis [24] Extreme value modeling [25] Expert elicitation tools [26] Data previsualizer ODE and numerical integration Assumption library
@RISK IndustrialCrystal BallYesNoNoYesYesNoYes
@RISK ProfessionalCrystal BallYesNoNoYesYesNoYes
Crystal BallNoYesNoNoNoYesNoNo
Crystal Ball + Decision OptimizerNoYesNoNoNoYesNoNo
DiscoverSim + SigmaXLNoYesNoNoNoYesNoNo
MC FLONoYesYesNoYesYesNoNo
ModelRisk CompleteCrystal Ball, @RISKYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
ModelRisk BasicCrystal Ball, @RISKNoYesNoNoNoNoNo
Monte CarnivalNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNo
Quantum XLNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNo
Risk AnalyzerNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNo
Risk Kit SuiteNoYesYesYesYesYesNoNo
Risk Solver ProNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNo
Risk Solver Pro + Premium Solver ProNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNo
RiskAmp PersonalNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNo
RiskAmp ProfessionalNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNo
Simtools xlaNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNo
Simulation Master PremiumNoNoYesNoNoNoNoNo
Simulation Master StandardNoNoYesNoNoNoNoNo

Simulation Controls

NameControl of seed values Maximum numbers of draws [27] Random number generator Lock / unlock random variables [28] Multiple simulation runs [29] Run macros before/after simulation [30] Stop run when output generates error [31] Apply specific sample in model [32] Precision control [33] Spreadsheet interpreter [34] Sampling method [35]
@RISK IndustrialYesUnlimitedSeveralYesYesYesYesYesYesNo MC, LHS
@RISK ProfessionalYesUnlimitedSeveralYesYesYesYesYesYesNo MC, LHS
ArgoYes20000 Mersenne Twister YesNoNoNoYesNoYes MC, LHS
Crystal BallYesUnlimitedMCG [36] YesYesYesYesNoYesYes MC, LHS
Crystal Ball + Decision OptimizerYesUnlimitedMCG [36] YesYesYesYesNoYesYes MC, LHS
DiscoverSim + SigmaXLYes1e7Marsaglia KISS + MonsterNoNoNoNoNoNoYes MC, LHS
MC FLOYesUnlimited / Constrained by Excel Mersenne Twister YesYesNoYesYesNoNo MC
ModelRisk CompleteYesUnlimited Mersenne Twister YesYesYesYesYesYesNo MC
ModelRisk BasicYesUnlimited Mersenne Twister YesYesYesYesYesYesNo MC
Monte CarnivalNoUnlimitedSeveralYesYesNoYesNoNoNo
Quantum XLNo10000 Mersenne Twister NoNoNoNoNoYesYes MC
Risk AnalyzerNoConstrained by Excel?NoNoNoNoNoNoNo MC
Risk Kit SuiteYesUnlimited Mersenne Twister NoYesYesYesNoNoNo MC
Risk Solver ProYesUnlimitedSeveralYesYesYesNoYesNoYes MC, LHS, Sobol
Risk Solver Pro + Premium Solver ProYesUnlimitedSeveralYesYesYesNoYesNoYes MC, LHS, Sobol
RiskAmp PersonalYesConstrained by Excel Mersenne Twister YesNoNoNoNoNoNo MC, LHS
RiskAmp ProfessionalYesConstrained by Excel Mersenne Twister YesNoNoNoNoNoNo MC, LHS
SAFE TOOLBOXESYesUnlimitedMersenne Twister, RanLux and GFSRGYesYesYesNoYesNoNo MC, Antithetic, Fauré,Halton
Simtools xlaNoConstrained by ExcelExcel's RANDNoNoNoNoNoNoNo MC
SimularNoConstrained by Excel?YesNoNoNoNoNoNo MC
Simulation Master PremiumYesConstrained by ExcelMCG [36] , Excel's RANDYesYesNoNoNoNoNo MC
Simulation Master StandardYesConstrained by ExcelMCG [36] , Excel's RANDYesNoNoNoNoNoNo MC
YASAI and YASAIwYesConstrained by ExcelL'Ecuyer's MRG32k3a [37] NoYesYesNoNoNoNo MC

Reporting results

NameIncludes reporting toolReport export formats [38] Save and retrieve resultsEditing of graphs [39] Histogram Cumulative Time series plotSpider [40] Tornado Scatter Pareto Box Statistics Simulation dataResults filtering [41]
@RISK IndustrialYesExcel, bitmapYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
@RISK ProfessionalYesExcel, bitmapYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
ArgoYesExcel, bitmapYesYesYesYesNoYesYesYesNoNoYesYesNo
Crystal BallYesExcelYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesNoYesYesYes
Crystal Ball + Decision OptimizerYesExcelYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesNoYesYesYes
DiscoverSim + SigmaXLYesExcelYesYesYesNoYesNoYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
MC FLOYesExcelYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
ModelRisk CompleteYesPDF, PowerPoint, Word, Excel, ModelRisk ResultsViewer, bitmapYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
ModelRisk BasicYesPDF, PowerPoint, Word, Excel, ModelRisk ResultsViewer, bitmapYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Monte CarnivalYesExcelYesYesNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoYesYes
Risk Kit SuiteYesExcelNoYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesNo
Risk Solver ProYesExcelYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesNoYesYesYesYes
Risk Solver Pro + Premium Solver ProYesExcelYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesNoYesYesYesYes
RiskAmp PersonalNoExcelN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
RiskAmp ProfessionalNoExcelN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
SAFE TOOLBOXESYesNot required.YesYesYesYesYesNoNoYesNoYesYesYesYes
Simtools xlaNoExcelN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
Simulation Master PremiumYesExcelYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesNoNoYesYesNo
Simulation Master StandardYesExcelYesYesYesYesNoYesYesYesNoNoYesYesNo

Help file, support and training

Name UDFs linked to help file [42] Interfaces linked to help file [43] Help file in PDFHelp file onlineTechnical support availableLanguage versions [44] Online videosOnline trainingOnsite training
@RISK IndustrialYesYesYesYesYesZH, EN, FR, DE, JA, PT, ESYesYesYes
@RISK ProfessionalYesYesYesYesYesZH, EN, FR, DE, JA, PT, ESYesYesYes
Crystal BallNoYesYesYesYesEN, JA, ES, DE, FR, PTYesYesVia Partners
Crystal Ball + Decision OptimizerNoYesYesYesYesEN, JA, ES, DE, FR, PTYesYesVia Partners
DiscoverSim + SigmaXLN/AYesYesYesYesENYesNoYes
MC FLOYesYesYesYesYesDE, EN, ESYesNoNo
ModelRisk CompleteYesYesYesYesYesENYesYesYes
ModelRisk BasicYesYesYesYesYesENYesYesYes
Monte CarnivalYesYesYesYesYesENYesNoNo
Quantum XLN/AYesNoNoYesENNoNoYes
Risk AnalyzerN/AN/ANoNoYesENNo??
Risk Kit SuiteYesYesNoNoYesEN, FR, DEYesNoYes
Risk Solver ProYesYesYesYesYesENYesYesYes
Risk Solver Pro + Premium Solver ProYesYesYesYesYesENYesYesYes
RiskAmp PersonalNoNoYesYesYesENNoNoNo
RiskAmp ProfessionalNoNoYesYesYesENNoNoNo
Simtools xlaNoNoNoNoNoENNoNoNo
SimularNoNoYesNoYesEN, ESNoNoNo
Simulation Master PremiumNoYesYesYesYesENYesNoNo
Simulation Master StandardNoYesYesYesYesENYesNoNo

See also

Footnotes and references

  1. 1 2 @RISK manual version 7.0, Palisade Corporation
  2. Booz Allen Hamilton, Argo
  3. 1 2 Crystal Ball manual: Oracle® Crystal Ball, Fusion addition Release Statistical Guide
  4. DiscoverSim Workbook: SigmaXL® DiscoverSim
  5. MC FLO online resources:
  6. 1 2 ModelRisk online help file:
  7. "Monte Carlo Simulation Add-In for Microsoft Excel - Monte Carnival". Retrieved 2018-01-16.
  8. Help file downloadable with software at
  9. The Risk Kit Suite is available as portable (no admin-rights required) or installer version. It consists of Risk Kit for Monte-Carlo simulations, Risk Kit R for advanced statistical analyses, and Risk Kit Data for an online data feed of financial data and social statistics from the European Central Bank ECB, the World Bank, the Federal Reserve Economic Data FRED, Eurostat and Yahoo!Finance. Risk Kit Suite on corporate website:
  10. 1 2 Risk Solver online user guide:
  11. 1 2 RiskAmp online user guide:
  12. SAFE TOOLBOXES website:
  14. Help file downloadable with software at
  15. 1 2 "Simulation Master - Monte Carlo Simulation Add-In for Excel". Vortarus Technologies LLC. Retrieved 2018-01-28.
  18. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-05-25. Retrieved 2014-02-06.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  19. Excel has tools for calculating correlation statistics for a data set. This refers to the software's ability to fit correlation structures to a data set and, where more than one correlation structure is available, to compare the levels of fit.
  20. Some add-ins provide VBA versions of their UDFs, which allow the user to build their own stochastic UDFs in VBA. Some add-ins also provide VBA functions that control a simulation. This allows the user to create VBA macros that will automatically run simulations and generate results.
  21. Some add-ins allow calls to C++ routines. These allow the user to create a stand-alone DLL that represents a part of the model which needs to be as fast as possible by making use of the faster performance of the original code (usually C++)
  22. Integrable as .NET-assembly
  23. Provides the facility to calculate probability mass (or density), cumulative probability, moments, etc. of a distribution directly in the spreadsheet.
  24. Standard error messages like #VALUE! when an input parameter is invalid is replaced by a message describing the reason of the error.
  25. Tools to evaluate the distribution of the minimum or maximum sample from a set of IIDs
  26. Graphical interfaces to facilitate determining distribution of uncertainty of some model parameter based on expert opinion.
  27. Some add-ins do not have a custom results viewer and export the data directly into the spreadsheet for analysis using the spreadsheet's native charting and statistical tools. The number of draws is then restricted by the ability of the spreadsheet to handle the size of the generated data.
  28. The ability to replace a random variable with a fixed value.
  29. Some add-ins allow the user to automatically run a model multiple times replacing decision variables with different values for each simulation run
  30. Some add-ins allow the user to run a VBA macro before a simulation (e.g. to import data from an external source), after a simulation (e.g. to export the results to a database) or before or after a random draw of the model (e.g. to perform an optimization).
  31. Stopping a simulation run when an output variable generates an error is a useful feature for debugging a model
  32. After a simulation run the user is able to insert a specific generated result back into the spreadsheet. This is useful, for example, if one wants to investigate the generated scenario that created the greatest profit or loss.
  33. The ability to specify a required level of precision for output results, usually the accuracy with which the mean or a percentile of the output has been determined. Precision control will stop a simulation run when the required accuracy is achieved
  34. Some add-ins will create a compiled version of the spreadsheet model before simulation. This has the benefit of a far faster simulation speed, but will not work with many types of models e.g. models that include VBA calls or functions like OFFSET and VLOOKUP.
  35. Only Monte Carlo sampling is compatible with copula correlation structures. Using Latin Hypercube or Sobol sampling removes the possibility of using other correlation structures like Archimedean copulas.
  36. 1 2 3 4 Multiplicative Congruential Generator
  37. L'Ecuyer et al. 2002. An object-oriented random-number package with many long streams and substreams. Operations Research 50(6)1073-1075.
  38. Exporting file formats to share graphical and statistical results.
  39. Ability to change colour schemes, fonts, add markers and legends, etc.
  40. See, for example:
  41. The ability to select a subset of the simulation results (e.g. scenarios that result in a loss) thereby allowing the user to investigate scenarios of greatest interest.
  42. In Excel the Insert Function dialog box includes a 'Help on this function'-hyperlink. Some add-ins use this feature to provide a direct link to the applicable help file topic.
  43. Some add-ins with visual interfaces and dialog boxes include a help icon that directly links to the applicable help file topic for that interface
  44. ZH = Chinese, EN = English, FR = French, DE = German, JA = Japanese, PT = Portuguese, ES= Spanish

Further reading

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Monte Carlo methods are used in corporate finance and mathematical finance to value and analyze (complex) instruments, portfolios and investments by simulating the various sources of uncertainty affecting their value, and then determining the distribution of their value over the range of resultant outcomes. This is usually done by help of stochastic asset models. The advantage of Monte Carlo methods over other techniques increases as the dimensions of the problem increase.

In mathematical finance, a Monte Carlo option model uses Monte Carlo methods to calculate the value of an option with multiple sources of uncertainty or with complicated features. The first application to option pricing was by Phelim Boyle in 1977. In 1996, M. Broadie and P. Glasserman showed how to price Asian options by Monte Carlo. An important development was the introduction in 1996 by Carriere of Monte Carlo methods for options early exercise features.

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