Switching from @RISK to ModelRisk

Switching from @RISK to ModelRisk

@RISK from Palisade Corporation and ModelRisk from Vose Software are the two main Monte Carlo simulation add-ins for Excel. @RISK came to market over twenty years ago and was for a long time the dominant tool in the field. With the passing of its inventor, the departure of its leadership team, and the sale of the business to sequential private equity firms, the philosophy and culture have inevitably changed. Many long-time @RISK users have become dissatisfied and start to search for alternatives.

Why people switch from @RISK to ModelRisk

@RISK users have been increasingly switching to ModelRisk. We ran an informal survey to learn what their key reasons were for switching. We found:

  1. Price: All those surveyed stated that price was a major motivation for finding an alternative to @RISK. ModelRisk licenses are around 50% the cost of an equivalent @RISK license, but VOSE also offers bulk discounts that mean the savings can be as high as 65%. The cost of software training is also significantly lower.
  2. Service and support: Most of those surveyed stated that dissatisfaction with @RISK technical support and customer service was a contributing factor. VOSE puts a great deal of emphasis on customer support which you should experience during the sales process.
  3. License flexibility: Almost all high-volume users greatly valued the flexibility in ModelRisk licensing options. VOSE advises clients on the least-cost option for their particular needs.
  4. Performance: In testing, users found ModelRisk to be easier to use, faster and more stable than @RISK
  5. Reporting: All users preferred the graphing and reporting capabilities of ModelRisk
  6. Capabilities: Advanced users appreciated ModelRisk’s far broader range of tools

Why people put off switching to ModelRisk

The three main reasons we hear are:

  1. They think it will take a lot of time to learn a new tool
  2. They worry about the time needed to convert their models from @RISK to ModelRisk
  3. They are forced to use @RISK because of interactions with other users

The following section explains how we have addressed the first two points, minimising the time and effort required to make the transition. The last point is becoming less relevant as major government agencies and consultancy firms are making the move to ModelRisk but still remains an issue for some.

Minimising the time needed to learn the difference between ModelRisk and @RISK

Learning about the differences is easiest when the two products look and behave the same. In most situations, they do indeed look and operate in the same way as both products are well-designed and logical.


@RISK and ModelRisk use UDFs (user-defined functions) that follow Excel’s protocol. This means that most of the functions you will be familiar with in @RISK are the same or nearly the same in ModelRisk, for example:

@RISK ModelRisk
=RiskNormal(2,4) =VoseNormal(2,4)
=RiskOutput() =VoseOutput()
=RiskTriang(1,3,9) =VoseTriangle (1,3,9)
=RiskLognorm(4,1) =VoseLognormal(4,1)

Where the UDFs are different, ModelRisk tends to offer a simpler alternative with the same functionality. For example:

@RISK ModelRisk
=RiskNormal(2.1785, 3.052, RiskFit("Dataset2", "AIC"), RiskName("Dataset2")) =VoseNormalFit(C1:C100)
=RiskMakeInput(A5, RiskName(“Sales”), RiskUnits(“USD”), RiskCollect()) =VoseInput(“Sales”, “USD”)+ A5

Menu system

In the standard formats, the menu ribbons for @RISK and ModelRisk look quite different:

@RISK menu ModelRisk complete menu

Figure 1: Comparison of standard @RISK and ModelRisk menus

However, a user can choose to configure ModelRisk to show a menu organised similarly to @RISK – either during installation through the startup screen, or later from the Help menu. You can follow this quick video tutorial to configure ModelRisk menu ribbon:

The compatible menu matches as much as possible the location of the tools that are common to both products:

@RISK menu @RISK compatible menu

Figure 2: Comparison of standard @RISK and @RISK-organised ModelRisk menus

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Converting models written with @RISK for use with ModelRisk

ModelRisk includes a tool that will convert @RISK models into the ModelRisk equivalent with just a couple of mouse clicks. Start by loading an @RISK model into Excel (with or without @RISK running):

AtRisk converter

Figure 3: Selecting the @RISK converter in the ModelRisk ribbon

Two options are available. The first option converts whatever model is currently loaded into Excel. The second, bulk, option will convert multiple models at once from a specified directory.

Converting a single model

This short (2 minutes) video will guide you through the process of converting the single model from @RISK to ModelRisk format:

Converting a folder of @RISK models

This short (1.5 minutes) video illustrates how you can convert all @RISK models from one folder and place the converted ModelRisk models into another folder: