How to Create a Risk Matrix in Excel


A risk matrix is used to determine the risk in numbers using the impact and possibility index. Impact, possibility or certainty index can be any ascending or descending number.

So first we will need to create a risk matrix chart so that we can use it later in our analysis.

Let's start this article with the Risk Matrix Example directly without any generic formula.


To use the risk matrix we need to create one first. You will need to prepare a table like the one below:


In rows, I have assigned the impact and in columns I have written the certainty. The first values assigned to certainty and Impact are arbitrary but in proper ascending order.

Now the rest of the matrix is filled by this formula= Certainty x Impact

So to fill the risk matrix, we will write this formula in cell E5 and copy it to other cells of the matrix.


I am using absolute referencing here.

Our risk matrix is ready.

Now that our RISK matrix is ready, let's learn how to retrieve values from it by providing Certainty and Impact text.

We can use the INDEX and MATCH function to retrieve values from this table.

Retrieving Value From the Risk Matrix 

The generic formula for retrieving the risk value will be:


Matrix: This is the entire matrix value range (excluding headers).

Certainty: This is the certainty level label.

Certainty_headers: This is the range that contains the certainty level labels.

Impact: This is an impact level label.

Impact_headers: This is the range that contains the impact labels.


In the image above  we have certainty levels in D11 and Impact level written in D12. We need to get the Risk value of this combination from the risk matrix above.

For this, we use the above mentioned generic formula in cell D13.


It returns 1500.

As you can see it has returned a risk value. This value can be used to make important decisions. Here we used a small matrix to illustrate the use. But in reality you may have a bigger matrix which can be used manually. In those cases, this formula will be a life saver.

How does it work?

The technique is quite simple. The INDEX function is used to retrieve value from a 2D array using the row and column index. We use the MATCH function to retrieve the row and column index for INDEX function. Here's how it is solved step by step:


In the first step both MATCH functions are solved. The first MATCH looks for "certain" (value in D11) in range D3:H3. It finds at 5th location and returns 5. Similarly, the second MATCH looks for the text "Medium" in range C4:C8. It finds it at 3rd position and returns. Finally, the INDEX function looks in the 5th column and 3rd row of array D4:H8 and returns 1500.

So yeah guys, this was a quick example of the Risk Matrix calculation in Excel. I hope it was explanatory enough and served your purpose of being here. If you have any questions regarding this article or anything else about Excel/VBA, let us know in the comments section below.

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