How do you create a decision matrix in Excel?

Decision matrices can be used in many disciplines, from design to engineering, and can also be a useful tool for making personal decisions. Having a manageable list of options and criteria is essential for harnessing the power of a decision matrix. So, if there are a lot of options, or if there is a high number of criteria, eliminate some choices and then use the matrix to reach a final decision. Below is an overview of some of the more well-known decision-making methods.

Kepner Tregoe Method

Created by Charles Kepner and Benjamin Tregoe, this option provides a methodology for gathering, evaluating, and prioritizing information to identify the root cause of a problem and prevent it going forward. It includes four major steps:

  • Appraise the Situation: Outline concerns and choose a direction.
  • Analyze the Problem: Define the problem and its root cause.
  • Analyze Decisions: Identify alternatives and perform a risk analysis for each by using a weighted decision matrix.
  • Analyze Potential Problems: Further examine the best alternatives in an effort to expose potential issues, and look for ways to mitigate the problems and minimize risk.

Multi-Attribute Utility Theory

This method is a mathematical concept that quantifies how people choose an option when there are more than one variable affecting their decision. In other words, it’s the theory behind such tools as a decision matrix. The mathematically inclined can read more here.

Multiple-Criteria Decision Analysis

Also called multiple-criteria decision-making, this method is an operations research discipline that evaluates conflicting criteria in decision making. Because decision matrix criteria should not overlap, this discipline doesn’t really impact decision matrices.  

Quality Function Deployment

A method that helps transform qualitative customer feedback (often called Voice of the Customer) into quantitative and actionable data. Also used in Six Sigma, quality function deployment can have some impact on decision matrices if the data derived from it become criteria or options used in a matrix.

Critical Analysis

Use critical analysis when analyzing and critiquing each relevant factor to help form an objective judgement. You can use a decision matrix as part of the critical analysis process.  

Belief Decision Matrix

Similar to a decision matrix, a belief decision matrix uses a belief distribution instead of assigning a single value for each criteria. A belief distribution provides a range of values for each criteria, based on the certainty or uncertainty of the rating, or the subjective judgement of the person or group making the decision.

Decision Tree

A more visual way to guide decisions, a decision tree represents a list of previously-identified decisions that guide a user to the best resolution of the problem. A well-known simple (and humorous) example is embedded at the upper right in this blog post.  

How do you create a decision matrix in Excel?


A well-known method of generating ideas in a group setting, brainstorming encourages members to throw out ideas that are later winnowed down to a more focussed list. This can be a useful tool to come up with criteria to judge the options.

HIPPO (Highest-Paid Person’s Opinion) Method

In short, the boss decides what’s best. Hopefully a decision matrix can help the person at the top come to an objective decision.

Compare and Contrast

You probably used compare and contrast when writing a book report in junior high. Using this tool might be a good way to narrow down a long list of possible criteria.

Consider All Factors (CAF) Method

Another way to shorten a list, use this method to look at the pros and cons of all possible criteria, as well as alternatives, to determine which are the most important.

Plus, Minus, Interesting (PMI) Technique

As an alternative to a decision tree, the PMI technique examines options and list the pluses, minuses, and interesting facts about each. Use that data to guide the final decision. This method is more subjective than a decision matrix.

Stacked Ranking

Also called forced distribution or a vitality curve, stacked ranking is a way evaluate employees. The method requires placing a certain percentage of employees into predefined categories (20 percent are top performers, 70 percent are adequate, and 10 percent are non-performers). You can easily adapt this method to other decision making scenarios, particularly when needing to narrow lists of criteria.

Rank Order

Another way to sort possible criteria, use a rank order to put items in order of preference.


Multivoting is another technique that allows groups to decide among alternatives or winnow down the number of criteria before using the decision matrix. In this method, everyone is given a fixed number of votes (e.g. 10 per person), and allowed to assign them to the options. Each person can assign all their votes to one option, assign one vote to many, or anything in between. The options with the highest number of votes win.   

How do you create a simple decision matrix?

There are seven steps to creating a decision matrix:.
Identify your alternatives. ... .
Identify important considerations. ... .
Create your decision matrix. ... .
Fill in your decision matrix. ... .
Add weight. ... .
Multiply the weighted score. ... .
Calculate the total score..

How do you draw a decision matrix?

Decision Matrix Procedure.
Brainstorm the evaluation criteria appropriate to the situation. ... .
Discuss and refine the list of criteria. ... .
Assign a relative weight to each criterion, based on how important that criterion is to the situation. ... .
Draw an L-shaped matrix. ... .
Evaluate each choice against the criteria..

Is there a matrix template in Excel?

Are you on the lookout for an Excel Matrix to present your business data? Then, you can check out Excel Matrix Templates available online. A matrix is a visual presentation of your business data using rows and columns. You can extend the rows and columns of your data in an excel sheet without repeating the numbers.

Does Excel have an Eisenhower Matrix template?

The Eisenhower Matrix also known as the Urgent-Important Matrix in this Excel template lets you decide and prioritize tasks by their Urgency and Importance level and helps you divide your tasks into categories such as what to do now, what to plan later, what to delegate and what to delete from your list.