Spreadsheet Risk Analysis
We have seen a lot of spreadsheets, and they are seldom as well-constructed as they need to be. This makes them hard to follow and error-prone. We created the PerfectXL Risk Eliminator in cooperation with Spreadsheet Department at the Delft University of Technology. Currently it detects up to 75 types of risks. Ranging from small risks, like double counts and wrong formula usage, to major problems related to ranges and the overall structure of your workbook.
The risk overview gives you an indication of the type of problems that were detected in your spreadsheet, sorted by the main risk categories: structure issues, range issues, hidden information, calculation doubts, vulnerable functions and complex formulas. Per risk type, you see the amount of detected risks and their levels (high risk, medium risk, low risk).
Risk Detection Details
To really see what’s going on in your spreadsheet, the larger ‘details & suggestions’ view of PerfectXL allows you to carefully review every risk, or potential risk that was discovered in your spreadsheet per category. The overview shows you exactly in which worksheet and what cell the risk was detected and which formula is involved.
Your aim is of course to improve your spreadsheet rather than just inspect and validate it. PerfectXL Risk Eliminator is there to assist. You can always improve your spreadsheet manually, PerfectXL will not interrupt with your work uninvitedly. But it does provide you with improvement suggestions, which are cleverly generated for each detected risk in your spreadsheet. It’s always up to you, whether or not you like to apply these suggestions.
- Avoid >70 types of risks
- Improvement suggestions
- Quality reports
Read more about risks in spreadsheets
On this page you will find a step-by-step walkthrough of the PerfectXL Risk Eliminator.
Here you will find information like system requirements, release notes, and answers to most questions about our software.
VLOOKUP and the combination of INDEX and MATCH are well known ways to search in Excel, and to our great frustration, VLOOKUP is used a lot more often.
Our software inspects spreadsheets on all kinds of spreadsheet risk. Read more about some of the risks we detect in spreadsheets here.
Excel horror stories are often related to accidentally changing, shifting or changing units or number formats.
Long ago, Excel was not as clever and advanced as today, but the so-called array functions have been around for a long time. However, most people do not know about them, and do not understand them.
(Hidden) circular references occur when Excel tries to compute a result of a cell that’s already been visited during the calculation round. Excel doesn’t warn us of conditional circular references.
Whenever possible, keep your Excel formulas short and simple. Avoid long formulas; they are harder to read, harder to understand, difficult to check and tough to improve.
The use of fixed numbers is a bad idea. A future user will not know where the number came from, and fixed numbers don’t change automatically, and thus might be overlooked when a change is made.
Do not hide anything except some sheets. Excel has too many attractive options that look good but may be risky in the long run.
Sometimes, you need to use the exact same formula, based on the same numbers, in several other formulas. You might be tempted to calculate this formula twice, but resist the temptation. Calculate your formulas only once!
It is so tempting to merge cells in Excel so that they form a header above two or more columns. Yes, we must admit, it looks nice, but resist the temptation because it can be dangerous!
It’s a bad idea to leave standard Excel errors in your workbook. Take the time to clean up, because after a while, you no longer know whether you left a mistake consciously or if there is something wrong with your spreadsheet.
Place a formula close to its input variables. You reduce the chance of mistakes, you make optimal use of Excel’s support, and your spreadsheet becomes easier to carry over to someone else.
To be able to trust a spreadsheet, a thorough check for errors and mistakes is essential. There are lots of different ways a simple mistake can destroy the validity of a spreadsheet.
Reporting is an integral part of Excel. Reports are generated in Excel, reports are built in Excel, and in many cases reports are a form of documentation required to properly use certain models in Excel.
Excel is a powerful tool. And when it can’t do what you need, VBA can fill the gap. Unfortunately, using VBA can lead to unpredictable behaviour, slow performance, and corrupt Excel files.