How to Make Excel Run Faster

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How to Make Excel Run Faster

Excel is a powerful tool used by millions of professionals for data analysis, financial modeling, and various other purposes. However, as the complexity and size of the spreadsheets increase, Excel can become sluggish, affecting productivity and efficiency.Understanding how to make Excel run faster can significantly enhance your workflow. This article provides a detailed guide on how to make excel run fasterbased on the most effective strategies found in top search results.

Importance of Optimizing Excel Performance

Excel is integral to many business processes, and its performance directly impacts productivity. Slow Excel files can lead to:

  1. Reduced Efficiency:

Waiting for Excel to process data can waste valuable time.

  1. Frustration:

Constant lags can be frustrating, leading to errors and reduced accuracy.

  1. Resource Strain:

Slow Excel files can strain computer resources, affecting the performance of other applications.By optimizing Excel, you can ensure smoother operations, quicker data analysis, and a more pleasant user experience.

Step-by-Step Process to Make Excel Run Faster

  1. Optimize Formulas

Use Fewer Volatile Functions:

Volatile functions like `NOW()`, `TODAY()`, `INDIRECT()`, `OFFSET()`, and `RAND()` recalculate every time any change is made in the workbook. Minimizing their use can significantly improve performance.

Limit Array Formulas:

Array formulas are powerful but can be resource-intensive. Use them sparingly and consider breaking them into simpler formulas.

Avoid Complex Nested Formulas:

Complex formulas with multiple nested functions can slow down Excel. Simplify formulas where possible.

Use Efficient Functions:

Functions like `SUMIF`, `COUNTIF`, and `VLOOKUP` are more efficient than their array formula equivalents. Use these functions instead of creating custom complex formulas.

  1. Manage Data Efficiently

Reduce the Size of Your File:

Large files take longer to process. You can reduce file size by:

Deleting unnecessary sheets.

Removing unused rows and columns.

Compressing images and avoiding embedding large objects.

Use Tables:

Converting ranges to tables (Ctrl + T) can help Excel manage data more efficiently. Tables automatically adjust to new data and can improve formula performance.

Limit the Use of Conditional Formatting:

Extensive use of conditional formatting can slow down Excel. Use it sparingly and remove any unnecessary formatting rules.

Avoid Using Excessive Pivot Tables:

While pivot tables are powerful, using too many in a single workbook can slow down performance. Consider breaking them into multiple workbooks if necessary.

  1. Improve Calculation Options

Switch to Manual Calculation Mode:

For large and complex workbooks, switch Excel to manual calculation mode (Formulas > Calculation Options > Manual). This way, Excel only recalculates when you explicitly tell it to (by pressing F9), reducing unnecessary recalculations.

Optimize Calculation Settings:

Use the `Formulas` tab to control calculation options. Turn off `Enable Iterative Calculation` if not needed, and adjust the maximum iterations and change values to optimize performance.

  1. Optimize Workbook and Worksheet Design

Use Fewer Worksheets:

Each worksheet adds to the workbook’s complexity. Use fewer worksheets and consolidate data where possible.

Limit the Use of Array Formulas:

Array formulas can be slow because they perform multiple calculations. Use simpler formulas when possible.

Minimize the Use of 3D Formulas:

Formulas that refer to the same cell or range on multiple sheets can slow down performance. Use alternative methods if possible.

  1. Excel Configuration and Settings

Disable Unnecessary Add-ins:

Add-ins can slow down Excel. Disable any add-ins that you do not need (File > Options > Add-Ins).

Adjust Advanced Options:

In the Excel Options menu (File > Options), adjust settings under the Advanced tab. For instance, disable `Enable multi-threaded calculation` if it causes issues.

Increase Memory Allocation:

Ensure your system has enough RAM. Adding more RAM can improve Excel’s performance, especially for large data sets.

  1. External Data and Links

Break Links to External Files:

Links to external files can slow down performance. Break any unnecessary links (Data > Edit Links).

Avoid Embedding Large Files:

Embedding large files, such as high-resolution images or large objects, can slow down Excel. Use hyperlinks instead of embedding files.

  1. Regular Maintenance

Clean Up Workbook Regularly:

Regularly remove unused styles, names, and cells to keep your workbook lean. Use tools like `Name Manager` (Formulas > Name Manager) to delete unnecessary named ranges.

Update Excel:

Ensure you are using the latest version of Excel, as updates often include performance improvements and bug fixes.

Monitor Workbook Size:

Keep an eye on the workbook size (File > Info). Large files can be split into smaller, more manageable ones.


  • Optimizing Excel performance is crucial for maintaining efficiency and productivity, especially when dealing with large datasets or complex calculations.
  • By following the steps outlined above on how to make excel run faster, you can significantly reduce lag and improve the overall responsiveness of Excel. Remember, the key to a faster Excel is efficient data management, optimized formulas, and regular maintenance.

Quick Tips Recap

  1. Minimize Volatile Functions:

Use them sparingly to reduce unnecessary recalculations.

  1. Efficient Data Management:

Keep your files lean and well-organized.

  1. Manual Calculation Mode:

Use it for large, complex workbooks.

  1. Limit Add-ins:

Disable any unnecessary add-ins to improve startup times.

  1. Regular Cleanup:

Maintain a clean and optimized workbook.

By implementing these strategies, you can ensure that Excel remains a powerful and efficient tool in your professional toolkit.

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