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

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated September 30, 2021)
This tip applies to Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003


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. ...

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