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Speeding Up Large Worksheets

Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Excel 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Excel, click here: Speeding Up Large Worksheets.

Excel users are always looking for ways to speed up large worksheets. If you are using a large worksheet that has lots of static formulas in it, this tip may be of help to you.

Consider the following scenario: You have a large spreadsheet with many hundreds of rows. Each row has a couple of data columns and then a column or two that perform calculations on those data columns. Once the data columns are set, the information in the calculated columns never changes. However, Excel must still perform the calculations every time it goes through a recalculation cycle.

These recalculations obviously slow down Excel. You can see if your worksheet is speedier if you simply copy the cells in the columns being calculated and then use Paste Special to paste them as Values. The formulas are replaced with the calculated values, and Excel no longer has to recalculate hundreds of cells which now contain static values.

If you need to maintain the original formulas that were in the columns, make sure you don't select the top or bottom cells in the calculated columns before doing your copy and paste. These will remain as formulas, and you can copy them as needed at a later date.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2473) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Excel (Excel 2007 and later) here: Speeding Up Large Worksheets.

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