The Ultimate Guide to Decision Tree in Excel

Jawad Ahmad


Jawad Ahmad

The Ultimate Guide to Decision Tree in Excel

Table of Contents

There has been a rising trend in organizational and business management that, based on accurate data analysis, involves decision-making. Every business needs to make decisions and to do this, they require data analysis tools. In this regard, a decision tree in excel is very much helpful.

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Ultimate Guide to Decision Tree

What is a Decision Tree?

Decision trees are valuable tools that can help you make better decisions faster. Creating a decision tree can aid your team in making educated choices by allowing you to visually lay out your options and compare their respective prices, probabilities, and benefits.

By reading this article, you will understand how to build a decision tree in Excel and gain insight into how Excel may enhance your productivity. So, create a decision tree to aid your company in problem-solving with the help of MS Excel.

How to Create Decision Tree Analysis in Excel?

Imagine that you have decided to build a new software feature than to influence an existing one. But how will you prove and present it to your leaders? Worry not, transform your data into a more convincing and interesting manner with the help of tree diagram in excel.

Decision tree excel is a diagram with a tree-like structure. It provides a consumable layout for your data as you think of different options, and then they help rationalize your decision to others.

Wondering, how to create a Decision Tree in excel? Well, you can easily make it with the help of the Microsoft Excel Program. Microsoft Office comprises a dedicated program, Visio, for designing decision trees and other types of flow charts. Excel is an incredible tool with the ability to link data on the tree to existing cells.

Then it updates the tree automatically when you adjust the attached spreadsheet. It has user-friendly features which include a range of diagrams and graphics.

And it helps commercial companies in making data-driven decisions. Below are some guidelines that will specify how you can efficiently build a Decision Tree Diagram in your Excel Worksheet.

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Here is how you can do it in Excel 2007, Excel 2010:

Having to start from the beginning when creating a decision tree in Excel adds extra time and effort to the process. However, following these simple steps, you can quickly build a decision tree in Excel.

Step 1:

Open a worksheet in MS Excel. Then add any raw data you need to make your decision.

Step 2:

Switch to the ‘Insert’ tab and then click on the ‘SmartArt’ button or “Text Box” from the text section. A window ‘Choose SmartArt Graphics’ will appear. Switch on ‘Hierarchy, choose a hierarchy design, and then click ‘OK’.

Step 3:

After selecting the text box, you can draw the text box by using cursor. Insert the decision title next to your first bullet point. And type the name of all new options in the bullet points under a decision bullet.

Then assess each new option and determine whether the objective is achieved, or there is any doubt, or any other decision needs to be taken. You can add new boxes if you need to make another decision. Also, circle it for any uncertainty. It is up to you how many outcomes you have for a decision.

Step 4:

If there is an outcome, just press “Enter” and the “Tab” where you want to add a box. If you want to change the shapes, select a text box, click the “Edit Shape” button on the Format tab and choose “Change Shape” to change a box from a rectangle to another shape.

Step 5:

Now enter the probabilities in the closest cell where the circles and lines join. These probabilities will show the expected percentage.

Step 6:

Finally, enter an approximate value in the cell where the lines and boxes 1 are joined. These values present the expected values of any decision taken.

(Perform each step in excel, take its screenshot, crop the screenshot, highlight/mark steps on screenshot and upload for each step.)

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Multiple Applications of Decision Tree

There are several applications for decision trees, including:

  • Completely display the non-linear data
  • Evaluate the nature of a problem and the options available for fixing it.
  • Estimate the worth of potential outcomes and the likelihood of reaching them.
  • Design an algorithm to identify the actions most likely to provide the desired result.
  • Evaluate the situation by contrasting possible effects.

Data analysts routinely do predictive analyses. Therefore, they use decision trees to simplify large datasets effectively. Since you may use a decision tree method for data classification, they are also widely employed in the fields of AI and ML.

For example, budgeting and operations are only two areas where businesses might benefit from using decision tree diagrams. This type of technology is also crucial in the realm of project management. A decision tree analysis facilitates discussions that aid businesses in cost control, opportunity discovery, and the appraisal of future growth possibilities.

Top Four Elements of Decision Tree:

Ultimately, a decision tree is composed of four essential elements or symbols. Which are:

Decision nodes: 

A square designates a decision node, representing a decision that needs to be made.

Chance nodes: 

Chance nodes, which are depicted as circles, offer a variety of potential outcomes.


These lines, which illustrate potential outcomes or decisions that follow a primary option, are also known as alternative branches.

End Nodes: 

Triangles, known as end nodes, show the outcome or conclusion of a decision process.

Top Five Tips to Keep in Mind When Building Decision Tree in Excel:

You can use the steps listed below to generate a decision tree. Then, examine each choice once you’ve finished building your decision tree to identify the optimal action.

  • Specify your Central Notion or Query: Finding your root node is the first step. This is the fundamental problem, query, or notion you want to investigate. Therefore, your flowchart’s root node should be listed at the very top.
  • Add Possible Choices and Results: Next, add prospective choices to your tree to make it larger. Then, branch out from the root node to these choices. From here, list the evident and likely effects of each option.
  • Expand till you Reach the End: Don’t forget to give each option in your tree some context. Every choice should have a conclusion, ensuring that all possible outcomes are considered. There is hence no room for surprises.
  • Determine the Reward and Risk: Calculating the figures is now necessary. Most successful decision trees include quantitative information. You can do this to determine the expected value of each choice. Financial statistics are the most prevalent.
  • Review the Results: Evaluation of the results is the final phase. In this step, you decide which option is best for you based on the level of risk you’re willing to accept. Do not forget that the optimal course of action may not always have the most value. Although it carries a high potential for reward, there is also a significant potential for risk. The best result will depend on your budget, timeline, and other aspects, which you will decide with the help of your team.

Top 5 Things To Consider When Creating Decision Tree Analysis in Excel:

Here are some points of how you make an interactive decision tree in excel:

  1. Firstly. Start with the higher-level options. And then break every option into an appropriate high-level step.
  2. Next, at every step, determine which option is necessary to follow first. Then assign percentage probability to every alternative.
  3. Now, after developing all alternatives, assign a dollar value in this branch for the final step.
  4. Next, show every option into their value via statistical data.
  5. Finally, the outcome is the expected total for every option.

Another easy and simple option of doing it is to download a Tree Plan online. Start using decision tree in excel template.

  • Open excel and then help menu.
  • Next, search “tree diagram” there.
  • Then click on “TreePlan” and select, “Decision Tree Add-in For Excel”

There are many other tools available to create a Decision Tree, however, Excel is the easiest way to build it. Here is a rich collection of professionally designed decision tree templates prepared for almost all possible scenarios.

Top 3 Free Decision Tree Add-in for Excel!

If you are looking for “how to create a decision tree in excel”, well it is easy. Excel will help you research and analyze a financial, business, or legal problem.

Creating a decision tree in excel will allow you to choose an optimal path that will calculate the estimated value of every plan. Additionally, the decision tree algorithm in excel will help you examine the uncertainty and risk linked to your plan.

Here are top 3 free decision tree add-in for excel which will help you examine the risk associated with your strategy:

  • SolutionTree
  • TreePlan
  • PrecisionTree

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Top 2 Benefits of Using Excel Decision Tree Add-in:

Using decision tree in excel template has many benefits associated with:

Cut, copy, and Paste Functionality

While creating an interactive decision tree, add-in helps a lot. With the Excel add- in, you can copy or move any cell or branch from one point to another. Just like in Excel, you can also choose to copy a formula. Also, you can paste a branch onto another tree within the same workbook or onto the new one.

Optimal Path Calculation

The excel add-in automatically calculates the optimal path through the decision tree. When you revise a node value, the custom function automatically determines the best alternative for it. And this allows “folding back” top expected values. Thus, these add-ons make decision making easy.

No messy Dialogue Boxes

The probability decision tree in Excel is a lightweight diagram. With the Excel add- ins, you can easily make your inputs in the spreadsheet instead of some bulky and complex dialogue boxes. Moreover, the decision tree MS Excel Add-in helps you to visually comprehend a decision, identify best options, and communicate outcomes to others.

4 Best Decision Tree Software!

Decision tree software is small and easy to use. They allow you to add branches, optimize a sub-node, and much more. There is a free decision tree excel template that will help you incorporate the functions of Microsoft Excel with the help of software.

Below are some best decision tree software:


Though a free decision-making software offers limited and basic functionality. However, they will be a perfect fit depending on your analytical requirements.

Several programs of them are add-ins for Excel. These accelerate the functionality of the excel program and helps you generate higher decision Trees. Some of them have many extra features.

Above all, this decision tree software is great for all those who need to play around with data.

By concluding, a decision tree in excel software can be used in business, medicine, computing, etc. decision tree algorithms in excel are extremely popular, especially within the computing and business world. And it is a top tool of data analysis.

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Top 5 Frequently Asked Questions about Decision Tree

There are many questions in the FAQ list of The Ultimate Guide to Decision Tree in Excel. However, the top 5 and the basic ones are:

How do you calculate decision tree?

When you are estimating a decision node, write down the cost of each option beside each decision line. Then deduct the cost from the product value that you have already calculated.

Where is decision tree used?

Decision trees are used in decision analysis in operations research, to help find an approach most likely to reach a goal. It is also a popular tool in machine learning.

How do you do a tree diagram?

Tree diagrams show all the possible outcomes of an event. Each branch represents a possible outcome. Tree diagrams are also used to find the number of possible outcomes and calculate the possibility of possible outcomes.

What is the advantage of decision tree?

The decision tree forces the consideration of all possible outcomes of a decision and touches each path to a conclusion. Also, it creates a complete analysis of the values along each branch and classifies decision nodes that need further analysis.

How does a decision tree work?

Decision trees use several algorithms to choose to split a node into two or more sub-nodes. The conception of sub-nodes increases the homogeneity of resultant sub-nodes. The decision tree breakups the nodes on all existing variables. Then it selects the split which outcomes in most homogeneous sub-nodes.

Finally, it was all about the “The Ultimate Guide to Decision Tree in Excel”. Please do share your feedback in the comments section and keep visiting us to learn more about Project Management.

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