How to Clear Excel Cache Like a Pro

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In the fast-paced world of data manipulation and analysis, Microsoft Excel stands as a stalwart companion for professionals and enthusiasts alike. However, even the most seasoned Excel users occasionally encounter performance issues that can be traced back to the accumulation of cache data.

In this guide, we’ll delve into the intricacies of Excel cache, explore why it matters, and equip you with the knowledge of how to clear Excel cache efficiently.

The Cache Conundrum: Unraveling the Mystery

What is Excel Cache?

To demystify the concept, let’s first understand what Excel cache is. Essentially, cache is a temporary storage space where Excel stores frequently accessed data, formulas, and objects to expedite subsequent retrieval.

While this mechanism significantly boosts performance during regular use, over time, the cache can become cluttered, leading to sluggish response times and potential errors.

Why Does It Matter?

Imagine Excel as a well-organized library, with each cell, formula, and formatting detail meticulously cataloged. Now, envision the cache as a dynamic index – a quick reference guide that aids in swift information retrieval.

However, just like a library needs occasional reorganization, so does Excel’s cache. A cluttered cache can hamper the application’s efficiency, causing delays in calculations and potentially compromising the accuracy of your data.

Unveiling the Steps: How to Clear Excel Cache

Step 1: Save Your Work

Before embarking on any cache-clearing mission, ensure your critical data is safely stored. Save your Excel file to prevent any accidental data loss during the process.

Step 2: Close Unnecessary Applications

To streamline the cache-clearing process, close any unnecessary applications running in the background. This ensures Excel can dedicate its resources to the task at hand without interference.

Step 3: Clear Excel Cache Using the Ribbon                     

For Excel 2010 and later versions:

  1. Open Excel and click on the “File” tab.
  2. Select “Options” from the left-hand menu.
  3. In the Excel Options dialog box, navigate to the “Advanced” tab.
  4. Scroll down to the “Formulas” section and check the box next to “Enable iterative calculation.”
  5. Click “OK” to apply the changes.

Step 4: Use the “Clear” Function

For Excel 2013 and later versions:

  1. Click on any cell within your worksheet.
  2. Go to the “Data” tab on the ribbon.
  3. In the “Sort & Filter” group, click on the “Sort” or “Filter” icon.
  4. Click “Clear” and choose either “Clear Filter” or “Clear.”

Step 5: Clear Individual Cell Cache

Sometimes, the issue might be confined to specific cells. To clear the cache for individual cells:

  1. Select the cell or cells you want to clear.
  2. Press Ctrl + Alt + Shift + F9 on your keyboard.

Did You Know?

  1. Excel’s Cache Capacity: The cache capacity of Excel is substantial, capable of storing thousands of formulas and values. However, as your workbook grows, so does the demand on this storage space.
  2. Frequency Matters: The frequency of cache clearing depends on the complexity and size of your Excel files. Power users handling large datasets may benefit from more frequent cache maintenance.
  3. The Hidden Cache: Excel often retains hidden caches even after seemingly clearing the cache using conventional methods. Advanced users may explore VBA (Visual Basic for Applications) scripts to delve into and clear these hidden caches.

Troubleshooting Tips

  • Check for Circular References: Circular references, where a formula refers to its own cell, can lead to cache-related issues. Use the “Trace Precedents” and “Trace Dependents” tools to identify and rectify circular references.
  • Update Excel: Ensure you are using the latest version of Microsoft Excel. Updates often include performance enhancements and bug fixes that can address cache-related issues.
  • Optimize Formulas: Long and convoluted formulas can contribute to cache congestion. Break down complex formulas into smaller, manageable parts for optimal performance.


In the intricate dance of data within Excel, the cache plays a crucial role. Knowing how to clear Excel cache is an indispensable skill for users seeking peak performance from this powerhouse application.

By periodically tending to your Excel cache, you not only enhance the program’s efficiency but also pave the way for a smoother and more reliable data analysis experience. So, roll up your sleeves, follow these steps, and watch as your Excel prowess reaches new heights. Happy crunching!

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