Frequently Asked Questions

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These requirements apply to all versions (Professional, Enterprise, Fault Tree, and Portfolio).

DPL 9 is compatible with Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, 8.0 and 10.

DPL can optionally link to spreadsheets, you need to have Excel for Office 2000, XP, 2003 2007, 2010, 2013, or 2016. For the best experience we recommend Excel for Office 2007 or later. The Excel installation must be the full, installed version, not a web-based version opened from a browser. DPL is compatible with both 32-bit and 64-bit installations of Excel.

A minimum of 25 MB of free disk space is required. For a complete install with all documentation, approximately 45 MB is required.

A display with resolution 1280 by 800 or higher is required. A larger, higher resolution screen gives a better modeling experience.

In order to be able to link to spreadsheets, you need to have Microsoft Excel versions 2000, XP, 2003, 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. For the best experience we recommend Office Excel 2007 or later. The Excel installation must be the full, installed version, not a web-based version opened from a browser. DPL is compatible with both 32-bit and 64-bit installations of Excel.

The Mac-Compatible version of DPL can be linked to Mac versions of Excel. It is compatible with Excel for Mac Version 15 and 16.

Your DPL license came with a complete set of soft copy User Guides in PDF format. If you selected to have it installed when you installed DPL, it is in a directory called Documentation underneath where you installed DPL (the default for which is C:\Program Files \Syncopation\DPL9). If you did not select to have it installed, re-install DPL and select it as an option on the Components page of the installation script. Note that you can also access all of the DPL User Guides from our website here:

DPL has historically been strictly a Windows application. We don't offer a Mac-native version. We've had some users successfully run DPL on Macs with Windows virtualization.

With the DPL 9 Release we've developed a Wine-based Mac-compatible version of DPL. The Mac-compatible version supports linking to Excel for Mac (Versions 15 & 16). If you're interested in the Mac-compatible version of DPL, please contact

You can find detailed installation instruction for the Mac-compatible version of DPL here:

DPL 9 is a 64-bit executable program. If you have a need for a 32-bit executable we can provide that as well. DPL 8 is a 32-bit executable program. DPL will run on a 64-bit system but will not take advantage of it (i.e., it will not use more than 4GB of memory).

The DPL User Guides are in tutorial format and are intended to be read while working with DPL. We supply a folder of example models and Excel spreadsheets with your trial or purchased license to utilize while working through the various tutorial chapters. You can also access the DPL documentation here:

We also offer a variety of DPL/DA Software video tutorials on our website:

Lastly, we offer an overview of several industry examples DPL models here:

You can use the original license code and download instruction e-mail (or CD) to install DPL again. If these are not available to you, you can send an e-mail to to request the license information.

You may transfer a DPL license from one user to another user, provided that we are made aware of the details of the transfer and that the license continues to be used by only a single named-user. A named-user license may not be transferred from one user to another more than once during any fourteen day period.

To initiate a transfer, please send an e-mail to to enlighten us to the details of the license transfer. We will update our records accordingly. The individual no longer using DPL should uninstall the software. The new user can use the original license codes and download e-mail (or CD) to install the software. If these are not available, you can request the link/codes by sending an e-mail to

Previously the answer was "No" but with the DPL 9 Release the purchased version and the trial version are the same application. So if you need to re-install DPL Professional or DPL Enterprise, you can use the trial download link on the website to do so.
The email containing these codes can sometimes be blocked by a spam filter. If you have not received the e-mail containing the codes within 5 minutes of requesting a DPL trial, send an e-mail to to request the e-mail containing the codes.

This is a matter of taste. Most decision analysis practitioners recommend starting with an influence diagram, but for models with a conditional structure (i.e., "If we decide not to do the marketing test then ...") starting with a tree is often more intuitive.

Many analyses begin with a cash flow model which must be used in order for the analysis to be credible. You can easily have DPL create a decision model from such a cash flow spreadsheet in just a few clicks (Home | Add to WS | Excel-linked Model...). Starting with this basic model you can then conduct sensitivity analyses to determine which variables have the biggest impact on the objective function. You will typically want to treat these variables as uncertain by changing them into chance nodes. Subsequently you can add decisions to your model. Adding decisions will usually require some changes to the spreadsheet to incorporate the switches associated with each decision.

Runtimes are affected by many factors, including the size and structure of your decision tree, the size of your spreadsheet (if applicable) and the DPL optimization settings in effect. For tips on reducing runtimes see: Runtime.pdf

Those probabilities are the best three-state approximation to a normal distribution when used with values from the 10th, 50th and 90th percentiles of the normal cumulative distribution function. Therefore, if you have estimated the 10th/50th/90th percentiles for sensitivity analysis, and you believe your uncertainties are normally distributed, you can progress from sensitivity analysis to decision/risk analysis quickly. The 30/40/30 probabilities are also reasonable when used with 10/50/90th percentile estimates if the distribution is symmetric but not necessarily normal. Here are a couple of Powerpoint Slides that show the math:<

30/40/30 Probability Distribution Explained.pdf

Because DPL models are a combination of an influence diagram and a decision tree, DPL will run models which appear incomplete to users accustomed to working with an influence diagram alone. In particular, arcs which indicate timing can be omitted when the sequence of nodes is indicated in the decision tree.

DPL will build a symmetric, default decision tree while you're working in the influence diagram. However, once you modify the Default Tree, you have taken control of the decision tree and DPL will no longer build a Default Tree for you as you model. You will need to make edits (i.e., add nodes) to the decision tree manually. You can always ask DPL to create the Default Tree from the current Influence Diagram by clicking the Decision Tree | Model | Default Tree button (or, in DPL 8 it's Model | Tree | Default Tree). DPL will replace the current decision tree with a new default tree.

It could be that your computer is blocking internet access from applications other than a web browser program. Manually request the download by going to our Product Updates page. Click the appropriate product update, save the file to your computer (it is a .msi file) and install the update (with DPL not running).

If your model is a discrete tree (i.e., it doesn't contain any continuous chance nodes), a Decision Analysis run with the Discrete Tree Simulation evaluation method produces exactly the same results as Monte Carlo, and runs faster. 

There is no fixed limit. At some point, either your computer's memory is exhausted or (more often) decision analysis runs take longer than you would like to wait. Every model is different, but most users find that with a cashflow spreadsheet of moderate size they are able to work with thousands of endpoints. For a model without a spreadsheet, or with a spreadsheet which has been converted to DPL code, millions of endpoints (or more) can be tractable.

DPL supports the Excel functions that are most commonly found in cash flow spreadsheets. If you see an "@na" error after converting, your spreadsheet may contain functions not supported by DPL. See the note on Excel functions in DPL for more information.

A few different things may be causing this and, more than likely, it isn't a missing right brace. One common reason for this error is the use one of DPL's Reserved words, such as "stop", as a state name. Reserved words are case sensitive, so in the case of "stop" if you were to change the state name to "Stop" or some other similar word you would not receive an error. We have an DPL Online Help Topic (which can be accessed by pressing F1 in DPL) that lists all of DPL's Reserved words:

You can export data and/or statistics for a particular output by dropping down the Export command within the Data tab and selecting either Data or Statistics to export. You can then save the exported file in CSV or XML format for opening in another application.

You can copy and paste output graphics to other applications as well. If you don't need to modify the output in the other application, you can simply select Home | Edit | Copy or press Ctrl+C. Your graphic will be copied in both Bitmap and Metafile format to the clipboard.

By pressing Ctrl+V or selecting a paste option in the other application the clipboard will paste the appropriate graphic file into the other application.

If you'd like to be able to ungroup your output image in Microsoft PowerPoint or Excel for editing there is an option you need to turn on in order to do so effectively. Select File | Options | Outputs. Under the Copy/Paste heading check the checkbox next to "Produce simplified metafiles for ungrouping in PowerPoint".

Once you've turned on this option, select Home | Edit | Copy or press Ctrl+C. Your graphic will be copied in both Bitmap and Metafile format to the clipboard. Within Powerpoint, drop-down the Paste split button and select Paste Special… Within the Paste Special dialog, select Picture (Enhanced Metafile) and click OK. You can then right-click on the graphic and select Ungroup from the context menu. From here you can edit any section of the graphic that you'd like.

If the node whose data resides in Excel is not conditioned, then the order of the data should match the order of the states of the node (e.g., Low, Nominal, High). The named range containing the data can be either in a row or a column in Excel. If the node is conditioned, then the reading order (i.e., across a row then down to the next row) of the data should match the order in which it appears in the node definition dialog window. For example, let Node B have three states called Low, Nominal and High. Let Node A have two states called Yes and No. Let Node B be conditioned by Node A. The order of the data for Node B in Excel should be Low|Yes, Nominal|Yes, High|Yes, Low|No, Nominal|No, High|No. Either layout below is acceptable:

Low Nominal High
Yes . . .
No . . .
Yes No
Low Nominal High Low Nominal High
. . . . . .

The following layout is unacceptable for the example above:

Yes No
Low . .
Nominal . .
High . .
Before you can create DPL API objects you need to register the DPL Automation server, as described in section 22.2.1 of the DPL 9 User Guide. However, on newer versions of Windows registration may require administrator privileges. You may need to do the following:
  • Right-click on a command prompt and select Run as Administrator from the context menu
  • CD into the directory containing DPL9.exe
  • Give the command "DPL9.exe /Register"
  • Type exit to close the command prompt and you're ready to start using the API

Click-To-Run is a new Microsoft installation technology that is an alternative to the traditional MSI-based install. The ostensible main benefit of Click-To-Run (CTR) is that you can start using Microsoft Office before you're finished downloading it. While we enjoy cookie dough as much as the next software company, we think this is a pretty weak reason for introducing a whole new system into the already complex domain of Windows setup, but introduce it they did.

If you have a choice, we recommend you install Microsoft Office using the regular MSI-based approach, as many things don't work with CTR. However, DPL will run with a CTR'ed Excel, but you will need to take some steps in order to see the DPL Excel Side Interface. For step by step instructions see this FAQ.

Please note that we're looking at this issue and may modify our setup script so that CTR installations are automatically recognized in the future.

DPL 9 is compatible with previous releases of DPL. Decision Analysis Workspace/Project files (.da) from DPL 4.0, 5.0, 6.0, 7 and 8 can be loaded into DPL 89. Note that .da files are called Decision Analysis Workspace files in DPL 7 and 8, and are called Decision Analysis Project files in earlier versions.

You can import DPL Influence Diagram files (.inf) from DPL 3.x into a DPL 9 Workspace using File | Import. You can also import DPL Program files (.dpl) in the same manner.

You can "back save" a DPL 9 Workspace file to either a DPL 4.0, 5.0, 6.0, 7, or 8 Project/Workspace file using File | Save As. Some information for new features in DPL 9 may be lost.

Note that currently DPL is considered an “unidentified” app. Consequently, you’ll need to take a few extra steps to install it on your Mac. Below are the steps.

Keep in mind that your DPL app bundle and directories may vary from the instructions -- particularly if you have a DPL Academic Department site license. In Step 3, be sure to enter the name the of app bundle and directory that are specific to your machine.

Installation Instructions:

  1. Copy the link into your web browser.
  2. Choose to Save File. The .zip file will be saved to your Downloads.
  3. Open your Downloads in Finder. You should see listed.
  4. Double-click on the file to expand it.
  5. You should now have a DPL9Mac folder. If you expand it you'll see it contains two items: and a folder of DPL example files.

Figure 1: Downloads directory with DPL 9 App Bundle unzipped and expanded

Now you'll need to update some security settings before attempting to open this "unidentified" app.To tell Gatekeeper to allow apps from unidentified developers:

For reference see:

  1. Open System Prefs | Security & Privacy | General. Under "Allow apps downloaded from:" you need to select the "Anywhere" option.

    Note: you'll likely need to open a terminal and provide a command to enable the "Anywhere" option.

  2. If you don't see this option close the System Preferences window and open a Terminal.
  3. Enter the command "sudo spctl --master-disable" without quotes. You will be prompted to enter your password -- supply it and press Return. (See Figure 3 below)
  4. Open System Prefs | Security & Privacy | General again. Select the "Anywhere" option now available under "Allow apps downloaded from:" if it isn't already.

Figure 2: Security & Privacy settings with apps allowed from "Anywhere"

Lastly, you'll need to un-quarantine the DPL app with Apple:

For reference see:

  1. Open a terminal.
  2. You'll need to change your working directory to the to the directory that contains the file. The command you'll use is "cd" for change directory. For example, if the file located within the Downloads folder type "cd Downloads/DPL9Mac" into the Terminal and press Return. You should see "[~/Downloads/DPL9Mac] at the beginning of the next line if successful.
  3. Now enter "xattr -d -r" without quotes and press Return. You might get a couple of lines that say "xattr: No such file..." which is ok.

Figure 3: Terminal with commands for enabling "Anywhere" security setting and quarantine DPL app

Now you're ready to open the file and start building models! Return to your Downloads folder (if that's where the app is located) and double-click on the Upon the first loading of DPL you should see a dialog flash for Wineskin. Then you will receive a dialog in which you can choose to accept our EULA. If you're activating an individual or trial license you will need to enter the serial number and installation key provided to activate your DPL license. Some DPL Academic site licenses come with a license file embedded in the app bundle so activation isn't necessary.


We use WorldPay to handle all the credit card processing. WorldPay is one of the largest online payment service providers in the world. WorldPay solely handles your card details on their secure server where they run security checks and obtain card authorization. Syncopation Software, Inc. never has access to your card details. Once WorldPay notifies Syncopation that payment has been processed, we dispatch the software to you.

Syncopation Software, Inc. offers a 30 day money back guarantee on all its software products. If you are not satisfied with your purchase, return it to us postage paid with the reason for your dissatisfaction and your license fee will be refunded.

There are no shipping charges if you choose ESD as your delivery method.

If necessary, commercial licenses of DPL ship to destinations within the United States via FedEx. You may choose either FedEx Overnight or FedEx Express Saver. All shipments outside the United States are via FedEx International Priority.

Academic licenses of DPL are delivered via ESD only.

Shipping time for FedEx Overnight is next business day by 3 pm to most destinations within the US. International Priority is 1-3 days to most locations outside the US.

All DPL software and documentation is delivered electronically via download (ESD), meaning you will only receive emails with your license(s) and download instructions. The installation file includes soft copies of all documentation. No physical shipment and no shipping charges will apply.

The DPL 9 documentation is broken into two user guides:

  • DPL 9 User Guide: a guide describing the use of the features in the DPL 9 Professional and DPL 9 Enterprise versions.
  • DPL 9 Portfolio User Guide: a guide describing the use of the features in DPL Portfolio.

If you've purchased a license of DPL Portfolio, you will receive both of the user guides listed above.

All our software is priced in US Dollars. The local currency equivalent of the US dollar amount will appear on your credit card.

When ordering goods from Syncopation Software, Inc. for delivery outside the US, you may be subject to import duties and taxes, which are levied once the package reaches the specified destination. The prices shown on our website do not include these duties or taxes; any additional charges for customs clearance must be borne by you. Customs policies vary widely from country to country, so you should contact your local customs office for further information. Additionally, please note that when ordering from Syncopation, you are considered the importer of record and must comply with all laws and regulations of the country in which you are receiving the goods.

Click here to view a copy of our End User License Agreement.

Syncopation Software, Inc. has a presence in Maine and Massachusetts. Orders shipped to either of these states will be charged Maine or Massachusetts sales tax, respectively.

We offer volume discounts for both software licenses and Annual Maintenance and Support starting at 5 licenses, and discounts for bundled purchases of software. Lastly, we run special pricing offers on occasion, so please subscribe to our DPL Mailing List so you'll be notified of these special offers.

Syncopation's Maintenance and Support coverage ensures you get the expert support you need while using DPL via email or phone.

Not only do you get technical support but also DPL maintenance releases and upgrades to major new releases at no additional cost.

Maintenance and Support prices are per license. The amounts for named-user, perpetual licenses are:

  • DPL Professional: $295 per year
  • DPL Enterprise: $395 per year
  • DPL Portfolio: $1995 per year

DPL licenses come with 60 days of complimentary Maintenance and Support to get you started and can then be purchased annually at the pricing above.

Yes, we do offer a variety of Academic licensing options. We offer individual and site licenses of our DPL Professional and DPL Fault Tree versions.

Our site licenses can be for the entire campus or for a specific academic department, both of which are available for the full year only.

The end-user must be a student, faculty or staff member of a not-for-profit academic institution and is licensed to use the software solely for internal teaching and academic research purposes. Commercial use, including paid consulting by the user is prohibited. Nor is the user permitted to use the outputs of the software for commercial purposes.

You can order academic licenses on our website with a credit card here.

We deal with various software resellers from around the world, none of which are exclusive for a particular geographic location. If you are interested in partnering or becoming a reseller on our behalf, please send an inquiry to

We sell software licenses and Support agreements through re-sellers.

Once you subscribe to our mailing list, you will be entered into our secure contact database. You can anticipate receiving no more than three e-mails per month. Our e-mails to subscribers generally contain information about updates, maintenance releases, training offerings, special deals, and upcoming conferences/presentations. You can unsubscribe from the mailing list at any time.

Individual DPL licenses are user-based, not machine-based. As long as you are the sole user of the software license you can install the software on multiple machines.

DPL has a rich history. Syncopation Software has been developing, marketing and supporting DPL since signing an agreement with PricewaterhouseCoopers on 1 July 2003. We are first and foremost a software company, and are committed to satisfying our users and advancing DPL in the marketplace. The founders of Syncopation have been involved with DPL since its inception in 1991.