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Sudden Increases in Workbook File Size

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: Sudden Increases in Workbook File Size.

Joe has a workbook into which he's been adding information for years. The workbook is normally about 5 MB in size, but recently jumped to 10 MB, two times the normal size. Joe was wondering what could cause such an increase.

Actually there are all sorts of reasons that the workbook size could have jumped. One is that you've added some additional objects to the workbook that were not there before, such as graphics objects. It is also possible that changes in any macros attached to the workbook could have greatly increased the file size.

It could also be due to adding a PivotTable or changing how the PivotTable is saved within the workbook. You might also check to see where the last cell in each worksheet is located (press Ctrl+End on each worksheet). If the lower-right corner of the worksheet seems completely out of whack, then you can delete whatever columns or rows are necessary to get the worksheet size back where it should be.

You might also check to see if the workbook is saved with sharing turned on. If it is, then the size of the file can sometimes increase dramatically.

Finally, if you changed the format used to save the workbook, then the file size can increase. Check to make sure that you are using the proper file format for the version of Excel you are using. It is also a good idea to use Save As (press F12) to save the workbook out into a new file, with the proper format. That way Excel will write the workbook file "from scratch" and have the greatest chance of creating the most compact file possible.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (3115) 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: Sudden Increases in Workbook File Size.

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