Frequently Asked Questions

Below is a list of the most common DPL ordering and support questions. Clicking the question link will scroll you further down the page to the answer. If the information you're looking for isn't provided here please send an e-mail to for sales/ordering related questions or for support related inquires.



  • This error message usually means something is getting in the way of the communication between DPL and Excel. This could be the result of a setting in Excel or some third application interfering.

    First you should check the “Ignore other application that use Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE)” Excel setting within General section of File | Options | Advanced (see image below). If this setting is turned on (checked) DPL cannot communicate with Excel. Un-check this setting and attempt to run your model again.

    If that doesn't work, try to close all unnecessary applications that might be interfering. If you're still having trouble, send an email to

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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. 

  • 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 ...") or where the timing of decision and uncertainties is important starting with a tree is often more intuitive.

  • 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 access the link to the help topic below:

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 while the output is active. 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 in Powerpoint 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 data input tree will look like the following in DPL:

    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 shown within Excel is acceptable:

    The following layout is unacceptable for the example above:

  • 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:

  • The Mac-compatible version of DPL isn’t compatible with the latest versions of iOS, therefore, we recommend installing the DPL software onto a Windows machine if possible. If you don't have access to a Windows machine then you'll need to set up a Windows virtual machine and run the Windows version of DPL and Excel on your Mac. To do this:

    1. Acquire virtualization software program, i.e., VMware Fusion or Parallels, and install
    2. Install a 64-bit version of Windows and Excel for Windows if you need to link models to an Excel spreadsheet
    3. Download and install the Windows version of DPL on the virtual windows machine per instructions in the email

    If you have access to a Windows machine, that would be your best option for installing and running DPL.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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 9. Note that .da files are called Decision Analysis Workspace files in DPL 7, 8, and 9 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.

  • 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.

  • Yes, we offer both DPL web training sessions and DPL in-house training workshops. DPL web training is typically broken up into 3 hours sessions, are best for 1 to 4 participants and offer live instruction. We generally suggest participating in at least two 3-hour sessions to get a handle on DPL modeling basics. For more information on DPL web training see:

    Our DPL In-house Training workshop provides an opportunity for several users to learn DPL in the environment in which they will put it to use. Compared to web training, an in-house workshop offers a more personally engaging experience with one of our skilled instructors. The typical basic workshop is 2 days but can be customized to suit your requirements. Many groups choose to add on an application workshop focused on a particular issue, model or approach pertinent to their organization. For more information on DPL web training see:

  • The DPL User Guides are in tutorial format and are intended to be read while working with DPL. All trial and purchased DPL licenses comes with a full set of soft copy manuals in PDF format as well as a set of DPL example models and Excel spreadsheets to utilize while working through the various tutorial chapters. They are located in the Documentation folder within your DPL install directory -- the default for which is C:\Program Files\Syncopation\DPL 9. The example models and spreadsheets used within the tutorial in the user guides are located within the Examples folder of your DPL install directory. You can also access the DPL documentation here:

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

    Lastly, we offer an overview of several industry examples DPL models 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).

  • DPL is a Windows-first application. We don't offer a Mac-native version. We've had some users successfully run the Windows version of DPL on Macs with Windows virtualization.

    We have offered a 32-bit Wine-based Mac-compatible version of DPL in the past but this version is not compatible with the latest Mac OS releases due to the fact that Catalina and more recent iOS releases no longer support 32-bit applications:

    Consequently, we are no longer distributing the Mac-compatible version of DPL.

  • 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. But you should use the license information you for the purchased license to activate the software.

    If you have an activated DPL Trial and purchased a full license, these are the steps you'll need to take to update from a trial to the full, purchased license:

    • Run DPL
    • Do File | Close to close the current workspace
    • Navigate to Help | Resources | License & Version
    • Click the Update License button (this is only available if you'd done File | Close from Step #2)
    • Delete the old license information contained in the dialog box and enter the updated license information
    • Click the Check License Info button

    You should then receive a message that your license is valid, which means your license has been successfully updated.

  • 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.

  • You may transfer a DPL license from one user to another user, provided that Syncopation is 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


  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Click the link below to view a copy of our End User License Agreement:

  • 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.

  • 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 from our Academic Order Page:

  • 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 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 maintenance and support agreements through re-sellers. We offer reseller discounts on license purchases.

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

  • Syncopation Software offers a 30-day money back guarantee on all its software products. If you are not satisfied with your purchase, provide us with a detailed explanation for your dissatisfaction and your license fee will be refunded. Once the refund request is accepted or issued, the license will be disabled and the software should be removed from your machine immediately.

  • When ordering goods from Syncopation Software 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.

  • Syncopation's Annual Maintenance and Support coverage ensures you get the expert modeling 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.

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

    • DPL Professional: $295 per year
    • DPL Enterprise: $395 per year
    • DPL Fault Tree: $495 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.

  • All DPL software and documentation is delivered electronically via download (ESD), meaning you will receive your license(s) and download instructions via email. The installation file includes soft copies of all documentation in PDF format. No physical shipment is available. No shipping charges will apply.

    If you need to install the DPL software on a secure machine that cannot access the internet, we can provide you with an installation CD upon request at for an additional fee.

    The DPL 9 documentation is broken into three 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 Fault Tree User Guide: a guide describing the use of the features in DPL Fault Tree.
    • DPL 9 Portfolio User Guide: a guide describing the use of the features in DPL Portfolio.

    If you've purchased a license of DPL Fault Tree you will receive both the DPL 9 User Guide and the DPL 9 Fault Tree User Guide. If you've purchased a license of DPL Portfolio you will receive both the DPL 9 User Guide and the DPL 9 Portfolio User Guide .

  • The default shipping method is ESD (electronic delivery) with which you do not incur any shipping charges.

    If special circumstances warrant the need for physical shipment of the software license or documentation we will ship those items for an additional fee via FedEx for destinations within the United States. All shipments outside the United States are shipped via FedEx International Priority.

    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.

  • Yes! 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, usually within 1 business day. When you purchase through our website you can expect your checkout process to look something like this:

    After entering your billing information, you'll come to a section labeled Payment Method which is set to "Credit Card" by default and grayed out, as that's the only method of payment through our website. Note that we accept VISA, MasterCard, and American Express as shown. Below this you'll see the "Powered by worldpay" logo, as you will be taken to the Worldpay payment gate site to complete the credit card payment for the order. On the right-hand side you'll see your order totals.

    After clicking the "Review Order" button you will be brought to a page in which you can review your order details. Note here that the "Paying by" field is set to "Worldpay - default", which is correct and, again, the only option available. This indicates that your are paying by credit card through our Worldpay payment gate. If you need to make changes to the order you can press the "Back" button to make those changes. If all the information is correct, press the "Submit Order" button to proceed with payment.

    After clicking "Submit Order" you will leave Syncopation's website and be brought to Worldpay's Secure Payment Page. Here you can first select your desired language. Below this is a description of your order and total. You'll need to select your card type from the images shown. Note that VISA, MasterCard, and American Express are the only cards accepted.

    Once you click on your card type image, you'll be brought to the second step of the Secure Payment Page in which you will enter your card information into the form. You should also verify the correctness of the information within the Cardholder details section. Lastly, complete the Captcha validation challenge before clicking "Make Payment". Note that you also have the option of "Start Again" if you'd like to re-start the process or "Cancel".

  • 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.

  • All orders made through the website are fulfilled by Syncopation staff. Purchases made within normal business hours are usually fulfilled electronically within a few hours, while those made outside of normal business hours may not be fulfilled until the next business day. Furthermore, if you have a user account -- you cannot access your purchased license information through your user account. Your license details and download link will be provided to you in email once your order has been processed by Syncopation staff.