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.
Fix Slow Microsoft Excel and Speed Up Spreadsheet Processing
Depending on the issue and situation, you can follow one of the below option to fix your Excel workbook.
- Open Excel in Safe Mode
- Disable All Add-ins
- Repair Microsoft Office
- Remove Rules
- Enable Manual Calculation
- Replace Formulas with Static Values
- Split a Big Workbook
- Enable Superfetch
- Reduce Size
- Repair Excel File
- Processing Macro Enabled Spreadsheets
- Check Security of Excel File
- Processing from Web App or Network
1. Open Excel in Safe Mode
You need to check whether Excel performs very slowly when opening a particular 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 using safe mode.
- Close all open Microsoft Excel files.
- Press “Win + R” key shortcut to open Run prompt.
- Enter “excel /safe” and hit enter.
- When opened in safe mode, you will see the “Safe Mode” in brackets along with the name of the Excel spreadsheet. In this mode, all external plugins and add-ins will be removed. If Excel loads and opens spreadsheets smoothly, there could be a plugin or add-in that causes problems with the performance.
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
Outdated third-party add-ins could cause problems and slow down your spreadsheets.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 click on “Go…” button.
- This will display all Excel add-ins installed on your computer and you can click on the add-in to view its function. Uncheck all items and click “OK” button.
- Close and reopen Microsoft Excel and check whether it performs smoothly now.
- If Excel is still slow, disable all items in “COM Add-Ins”, “Actions” and “XML Expansion Packs” and restart Excel.
3. Repair Microsoft Office
Most of the time, repairing Office installation is the best way to fix all issues. However, this operation will affect all Office applications like Word, PowerPoint and Outlook installed on your computer. Follow these steps to repair Office program:
- Go to Control Panel app by searching with Windows Search.
- Navigate to “Programs > Programs and Features” section.
- Check the program list and look for Microsoft Office. If you are using the latest version, then you will see Microsoft 365.
- Right click on it and choose “Change” option. You will also see “Uninstall” option when you have authorization to uninstall programs on your computer. However, we have to only repair the app without uninstalling by clicking on “Change”.
- You will see a pop-up with options for “Quick Repair” and “Online Repair”.
- Choose “Quick Repair” option and then click “Repair” button to start the process.
- Wait until the repair process is completed and then reopen Excel.
- If the problem still occurs, choose the “Online Repair” feature and check if that helps to fix your issue.
4. Remove Rules
Often, slow Microsoft Excel 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 save the file with a different name. The copy should become your backup, in case something goes wrong.
- Now, open the original file and go to “Home” tab. Click on “Conditional Formatting” option showing under “Styles” group.
- Select “Clear Rules > Clear Rules From Entire Sheet” option. If the spreadsheet has multiple tabs, you should repeat the step to clear all rules.
- Go to “File > Save” and close the file. Open the file again and check whether the performance is improved.
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” menu and navigate to “Formulas” section.
- Under “Calculation Options” section, you can find “Workbook Calculation” options.
- Select “Manual’ option and uncheck “Recalculate Workbook Before Saving” check box. Note that this check box will open for editing only when you select “Manual” option.
- Since you are disabling recalculation, you will need to press the F9 key to manually calculate the spreadsheet.
- Click “OK” button to close the pop-up.
- Save your Excel file and reopen to check if it loads faster.
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 and save your file.
7. Split a Big Workbook
If your workbook is getting too big, consider splitting it into multiple files. Otherwise, it could slow Microsoft Excel sheets within a workbook. 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 on your Excel sheets.
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 Editor app.
- Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/SYSTEM/CurrentControlSet/Control/Session Manager/MemoryManagement/PrefetchParameters section. You can also copy and paste this path in the Registry Editor’s address bar.
- Look for “EnableSuperfetch” at the right pane, double click on it and change its value to 1.
- If “EnableSuperfetch” isn’t found, right click on the right pane and choose “New> DWORD Value” option. Now, rename the DWORD as “EnableSuperfetch” and set its value to 1.
9. Reduce Size of Excel File
When the size of Excel file is too 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 file by removing unnecessary formulas and formatting. You can also find all unused cell data and delete them.
10. Repair Corrupted Excel File
If problem continues to occur, it is a good idea to use Excel Repair tool.
- Go to “File > Open” and click “Browse” option which will launch “Open” dialog box for selecting a file.
- Select your file and click on the small dropdown arrow in the “Open” button.
- Choose “Open and Repair…” to allow Excel to perform checks on the file.
- You will have two options to either repair the file or extract data.
- Choose “Repair” option to recover the content from your Excel workbook. You can choose “Extract Data” if you have problems with repair option.
11. Macro Enabled Spreadsheets
Another problem with Excel is to handle macro 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 to disable the data connections and delete the file. It may be a real virus that could harm your computer.
13. Processing Excel from Web App or Network
Directly trying to edit 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 to upload the file back and check out properly.
Excel is one of the most used applications in our daily life. Whether in office or in home, people use Excel more frequently for many purposes. There are many occurrences you might be facing the slow responding Excel worksheets. We hope the solutions explained above may help to fix your issues with slow Microsoft Excel workbooks and speedup the spreadsheet processing.