Fix Slow Microsoft Excel and Speedup Spreadsheet Processing
Microsoft Excel is a versatile productivity tool, but it is still susceptible to various problems. Sometimes, it may not open immediately when you click on a spreadsheet. Even a 30 seconds delay can hurt the flow of your job, especially if you need to open and close spreadsheets regularly. In a more serious situation, Excel may freeze for a long time and a “Not Responding” message is shown on the top of the window.
In this article let us discuss various methods to fix slow Microsoft Excel and speedup spreadsheet processing.
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1. Open Excel in Safe Mode
You need to check whether Excel performs very slowly with one file, a few files or all files. If Excel performs slowly with any file, then the problem could be related with Excel itself. You should pinpoint what’s happening with the program.
- Close Microsoft Excel.
- Press “Win + R” key shortcut to open Run prompt. Enter “excel /safe” and hit enter.
- If Excel loads and opens spreadsheets smoothly, there could be a plugin or add-in that causes problems with the performance. When opened in safe mode, you will see the ‘Safe Mode’ in brackets along with the name of the Excel spreadsheet.
If Excel does not open or loads very slowly in safe mode then try other fixes mentioned from option 3.
2. Disable All Add-ins
Add-ins could cause problem and slow down your spreadsheets. Follow the below instructions to disable all add-ins in Excel.
- Go to ‘File > Options’ menu and choose ‘Add-ins’ from the left sidebar.
- Click the ‘Manage’ dropdown, choose ‘Excel Add-ins’ and then choose ‘Go…’.
- Uncheck all items and click OK. Close and reopen Microsoft Excel. Check whether Excel performs smoothly.
- If Excel is still slow, disable all items in ‘COM Add-Ins’, ‘Actions’ and ‘XML Expansion Packs’ and restart Excel.
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3. Repair Microsoft Office
Most of the time, repairing Office installation is the best way to remove all issues. Follow these steps:
- Go to ‘Control Panel > Programs > Uninstall’.
- Check the program list and look for Microsoft Office. Right click it and choose ‘Change’.
- Choose ‘Quick Repair > Repair’.
- Wait until the repair process is completed and reopen Excel. If the problem still occurs, choose the ‘Online Repair’ feature.
4. Remove Rules
Often, the problem only happens with a single spreadsheet. If this is the situation, you should follow these steps:
- Open the problematic spreadsheet file.
- Go to ‘File > Save As’ and type in a different name. The copy should become your backup, in case something goes wrong.
- Go to ‘Home > Conditional Formatting > Clear Rules > Clear Rules From Entire Sheet’. If the spreadsheet has multiple tabs, you should repeat the step to clear rules.
- Go to ‘File > Save’ and close the file. Open the file again and check whether the performance improves.
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5. Enable Manual Calculation
If you use your spreadsheet to record new information on daily basis, you may continue to add rows, columns and formulas. Eventually, the performance will slow down noticeably. You should know that when you add something to the spreadsheet, Excel will recalculate all formulas. The performance will suffer further if you add lot of images, such as product images. One solution is to disable the Automatic Workbook Calculation option. It’s advisable to enable Manual Calculation, so there’s no effect on the overall performance. Follow these steps”
- Go to ‘File > Options > Formula’.
- Under ‘Workbook Calculation’, look for ‘Calculation Options’. Find the ‘Manual’ button and click on it.
- Uncheck ‘Recalculate Workbook Before Saving’, so you will need to press the F9 key to manually calculate the spreadsheet.
- Click OK.
6. Replace Formulas with Static Values
In many cases, values in your spreadsheet don’t change. If values in some parts of your spreadsheet are static, it doesn’t make sense to continue using formulas. Follow these steps:
- Click on a cell with values that are calculated using a formula, write down the value on a piece of paper.
- Remove the formula on the bar above the spreadsheet.
- Type in the static value on the cell.
7. Split a Big Workbook
If your workbook is getting too big, consider splitting it into multiple files. This is a very effective method, but can be complicated sometimes. All calculations and processes of raw input data can be performed separately, depending on the requirements. You need to do this carefully, especially if there are complex calculations.
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8. Enable Superfetch
In some cases, Excel opens normally and you can load spreadsheet files without problem. However, issues may arrive when you double click the spreadsheet file directly, without opening Microsoft Excel first. This may happen if the Superfetch features are disabled. Superfetch works based on cached data on the RAM, so the file can be fetched very fast when necessary. Follow these steps:
- Press ‘Win + R’ and enter ‘regedit’ to open the Windows registry page.
- Go to ‘HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/SYSTEM/CurrentControlSet/Control/Session Manager/MemoryManagement/PrefetchParameters’.
- Look for “EnableSuperfetch” at the right windows and change its value to 1.
- If EnableSuperfetch isn’t found, right click on the right windows and choose ‘New> DWORD Value’. Set its value to 1.
9. Reduce Size of Excel File
When the size of the Excel spreadsheet file is big, it contains a lot of data and it will perform more slowly. At certain point, the file can become unstable and crashes are more likely to happen. A good solution is to optimize the Excel spreadsheet file. The best way is to do it manually, by removing unnecessary formulas and formatting. Find unused cells and delete them.
10. Repair Excel File
If problem continues to occur, it is a good idea to use Excel Repair tool.
- Go to “File > Open”.
- Click on the small dropdown arrow in the ‘Open’ button.
- Choose ‘Open and Repair…’ and then choose ‘Repair’ option to recover the Excel sheet.
11. Macro Enabled Spreadsheets
Another problem with Excel is to handle macro enabled enabled spreadsheets. This will be in XLSM format and will be very slow compared to simple XLSX fie formats. So only use macro enabled format when there are macros inside Excel. Also expect slow response time when processing macros.
12. Opening Infected Files
Excel will show you the security alert when you try to open an infected file. When you enable data connections ignoring the warning, Excel will take long time to open the file.
We strongly recommend disable the data connections and delete the file. It may be a real virus that could cause harm to your computer.
13. Processing Excel from Web App or Network
Directly trying to edit the Excel spreadsheets in Web App like SharePoint may result in very slow performance. Instead of directly editing the file from network, you can check out the file and download to local computer. After completion of editing, check in, upload the file back and check out properly.