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: Forcing Stubborn Recalculation.

Forcing Stubborn Recalculation

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 25, 2017)

Kirk wrote that he was having a problem with the recalculation of his worksheet. He mentions that the worksheet is complicated, and that pressing F9 does not get the spreadsheet to "recalculate correctly."

The first thing to try is to press Alt+F9 instead of just F9. When you press F9, Excel basically recalculates just the cells that have changed since the last time there was a recalculation. The Alt+F9 shortcut forces a recalculation of all cells in the worksheet.

If that doesn't do the trick, then you may have a problem that is sometimes evident with complex worksheets: The order of the calculations done by Excel. When you calculate a worksheet, Excel basically calculates the cells from left to right and top to bottom. If you have a very large worksheet, with lots of dependent calculations, and the calculations on which everything else is dependent are at the bottom or right side of the worksheet, then you may get incorrect results. (Remember, this happens only with the most complex of worksheets.) The answer is to reorganize your worksheets so that the primary calculations are placed near the top of the worksheet and as far left as possible, and the calculations that are based on those primary calculations are placed later in the worksheet.

If you still have problems with the worksheet, try saving it as an HTML file and then reloading it into Excel. This may sound odd, but the process may help clear out any corruption that may exist in the internal pointers used by Excel.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2075) 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: Forcing Stubborn Recalculation.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Choosing an Equation Style

You can define styles for different characters used in the Equation Editor. It is not as full-featured as styles in Word, ...

Discover More

Repeating In a Macro

Macros are often used to process information stored in documents. Usually the processing involves some sort of iterative ...

Discover More

Creating an Index Entry for a Range of Pages

Putting together an index for your documents can be challenging, but Word provides some great tools to make the task ...

Discover More

Program Successfully in Excel! John Walkenbach's name is synonymous with excellence in deciphering complex technical topics. With this comprehensive guide, "Mr. Spreadsheet" shows how to maximize your Excel experience using professional spreadsheet application development tips from his own personal bookshelf. Check out Excel 2013 Power Programming with VBA today!

More ExcelTips (menu)

Setting the Calculation Default

Excel can recalculate your worksheets either automatically or manually. The default is to calculate them automatically, ...

Discover More

Controlling Display of Page Breaks

Do you want page breaks displayed on the screen? Excel allows you to specify whether it should show those page breaks or not.

Discover More

Understanding Relative and Absolute Addressing

In Excel you can reference a cell in a formula by entering the coordinates for the cell you want to reference. This can ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is nine more than 2?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the menu interface (Excel 97, Excel 2000, Excel 2002, or Excel 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.