How to Create a Sensitivity Table in Excel: A Step-by-Step Guide

Creating a sensitivity table in Excel is a handy way to see how different values affect your results in a formula. You start by setting up your data and formula, then use Excel’s Data Table feature. It’s all about using what-if analysis to make more informed decisions. Here’s a step-by-step guide to walk you through the process.

Step by Step Tutorial on Creating a Sensitivity Table in Excel

In this guide, you’ll learn how to create a sensitivity table in Excel to analyze how changing variables impact your results. This process involves setting up your data, defining your formula, and then using the Data Table feature.

Step 1: Set Up Your Data

First, set up your data and input variables.

You’ll need to lay out your data clearly so that Excel can use it. Suppose you’re examining how different interest rates and loan amounts impact monthly payments. In one column, list the different interest rates. Across the top row, list the different loan amounts.

Step 2: Enter Your Formula

Next, enter the formula that will use these variables.

For instance, if you’re calculating monthly payments, use the PMT function. Make sure this formula references the cells where you’ll be varying your interest rates and loan amounts.

Step 3: Create a Table Structure

Build the table structure around your formula cell.

Make sure the top-left cell of your data table is where the formula resides. This will be the anchor point for Excel to apply the different scenarios to your formula.

Step 4: Open Data Table Feature

Navigate to Excel’s Data Table feature.

You’ll find this under the "Data" tab, within the "What-If Analysis" dropdown menu. Select "Data Table" to open the relevant dialog box.

Step 5: Input Row and Column References

Input the cell references for your rows and columns.

In the Data Table dialog box, input the row input cell and the column input cell. For our example, this would be where the different interest rates and loan amounts are listed.

Step 6: Click OK and Analyze

Click "OK" to generate the table.

Excel will now fill in the table with the results of your formula, using the different variable combinations you provided. This gives you a comprehensive view of how changes in your variables affect the outcome.

Once you’ve completed these steps, you’ll have a fully functioning sensitivity table. This table will show you how your results change based on the different values you’ve inputted. It’s a powerful way to make data-driven decisions.

Tips for Creating a Sensitivity Table in Excel

  • Always double-check your formula to ensure it’s referencing the correct cells. This is crucial for accurate results.
  • Label your rows and columns clearly to avoid confusion. It makes the table easier to read.
  • Save your work frequently to prevent data loss. Excel can sometimes crash unexpectedly.
  • Use conditional formatting to highlight key results. This makes important data points stand out.
  • Experiment with different ranges of values to see a broader spectrum of potential outcomes. The more scenarios you test, the better.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a sensitivity table in Excel?

A sensitivity table in Excel shows how different input values affect the outcome of a formula. It’s a type of what-if analysis that helps you understand variable impacts.

How do I use the Data Table feature in Excel?

You can find the Data Table feature under the "Data" tab in the "What-If Analysis" dropdown menu. It allows you to create a table that varies multiple input values.

Can I use a sensitivity table for any formula?

Yes, you can use a sensitivity table for any formula as long as it references the correct input cells. This could be financial calculations, scientific data, or any scenario with variable inputs.

Why are my sensitivity table results incorrect?

Double-check your formula and cell references. Incorrect results usually stem from errors in these areas. Ensure that your formula is correctly set up to reference the input cells.

Can I update my sensitivity table?

Yes, you can update the table by changing the input values or modifying the formula. Excel will automatically recalculate the table based on the new data.


  1. Set up your data.
  2. Enter your formula.
  3. Create a table structure.
  4. Open Data Table feature.
  5. Input row and column references.
  6. Click OK and analyze.


Creating a sensitivity table in Excel is like having a crystal ball for your data. You get to see how different scenarios play out without guessing. Whether you’re working on a budget, a scientific experiment, or a business model, this tool can give you insights that are both valuable and actionable.

So, go ahead and try it out. The steps are straightforward, and with practice, you’ll become proficient in no time. For deeper dives, consider exploring Excel’s other what-if analysis tools like Scenario Manager and Goal Seek. Happy analyzing!

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