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Tips to Improve Excel Spreadsheet Performance to Speed up Slow Files

Applies to Excel template: "Georges Budget for Excel v12", "Georges Budget for Excel v14", and "Georges Excel Checkbook Register v7"

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Excel Speed Issues

Common Excel performance speed issues include an Excel file is slow to open, an Excel template, Excel is slow to save an Excel template, Excel is slow to enter or edit data (text) in a cells (there is a lag when entering data in Excel cells). Excel calculation of formulas in cells or Excel recalculation of formulas in cells is slow especially when copying large amounts of data especially and when cells with formulas are involved. Excel is slow to run VBA macros (visual basic for applications).


Increase Excel Speed with Improvements offered by Microsoft

Microsoft has improved Excel's speed, performance, and stability with each new version of Microsoft Excel. This is especially true with Excel for Microsoft 365 and Excel for Microsoft 365 for Mac with improvements of calculation speeds of popular functions such a Vlookup function and introducing new Excel functions such a Xlookup function, Filter function, Sort function and Sortby function. These  new Excel function in Excel for Microsoft 365 allow you to create more complex Excel formulas impacting more data because of the speed enhancements. If you are ok with a software subscription service, I recommend  to upgrade to Excel for Microsoft 365. Also several of the Excel templates on requires Excel for Microsoft 365 because of these advanced new Excel functions.

While I preferred the perpetual license of Excel where you could buy the product once with a one time purchase (single payment) and then use it for also long as the Excel version works on your computer. Excel of this are Office Home & Student 2019 or Office Professional 2019 which contain Excel 2019. However, the Microsoft 356 pricing is reasonable especially if have own several computers and want to use Excel on all of them such as having a desktop computer at home and a laptop computer when on the road or traveling. Also the Pricing for Microsoft 365 for a family, for example is very reasonable. There are two Microsoft 365 products for home use, Microsoft 365 Personal and Microsoft 365 Family. Microsoft Personal is for one person but you can use the subscription on up to 5 devices at the same time so if you have a desktop computer, a laptop, tablet and cell phone, you can use it one all those devices without having to buy multiples licenses as you would have had to with the one time purchase perpetual license. Microsoft 365 Family subscription can be used by up to 6 people and each person can use the subscription on up to 5 devices at the same time. Both Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Word, Microsoft PowerPoint, and Microsoft OneNote premium apps. Both include OneDrive cloud storage to back up files and photos and both include Money in Excel.


Use Faster Computer and Software

Each of the Excel templates, have specific system requirements that must be met in order to use the Excel spreadsheets. Typically, the larger the size file and the greater the number of complex Excel formulas and Excel functions, the stronger the computer will be needed to have optimal performance of the Excel file and Microsoft Excel software. If you can get more than the recommend system requirements that would be great so that you can notice the Excel speed improvements.

One thing that may help is that when you first install Microsoft 365 (Microsoft Excel), to install the 64 bit version of it. If you initially installed the 32 bit version of Microsoft 365, I personally don't recommend changing to the 64 bit after already installing the 32 bit on the computer, but I think it can still be done.
The speed of a computer including processor speed, amount of RAM and type of storage will also improve the speed of Excel and something you can do to speed up Excel is using a more powerful computer.

I recommend SSD storage which is becoming the standard on most computers with some having a combination of both SSD (solid state drive) and HDD (hard disk drives). When comparing computer storage drives (SSD vs HDD), SSD is more expensive and you also get less storage space however, the benefits of SSD computer storage is that SSD is faster and more reliable the HDD computer storage. So when it comes to Excel files, SSD storage will help improve the speed of Excel such as how long it takes to open and save an Excel file which may not seem like a big deal but if work with large Excel spreadsheets, I would rather it take a few seconds to open a file vs a few minutes.

Another thing I do when I am finished working with the file, is that I will save the file, wait 2 or 3 seconds, and then close the file and Excel program using the "X" in the upper right-hand corner of Excel.


Use different Excel file formats using File > Save as

If you have a large Excel file which can slow down the time it takes to open and close the Excel file, you can save the file using the .xlsb binary format (Excel binary workbook) which will make the file size smaller and improve speed of opening the Excel file and saving the Excel file. The Excel Binary Workbook format can also be used to save Excel files that have VBA macros. the most common Excel file format to save your Excel file in is the Excel Workbook format (Excel files will have the extension .xlsx). If your Excel file has VBA macros, the Excel file must be saved in the Excel Macro-Enabled Workbook (code) (Excel files will have the extension .xlsm) or the Excel Binary Workbook format with the file extension .xlsb.

These measures can help with the Excel templates available on and can help improve Excel's speed and stability, In my experience of using Excel, having a fast computer, using the latest version of Excel (Excel for Microsoft 365 with its automatic updates)  can help improve Excel speed and issues with Excel being slow to respond and this can indirectly help prevent Excel crashes (or the Excel spreadsheet file crashing or handing while using it which in turn can help prevent Excel file corruption. These are just a few things that can help optimize Excel. 


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