Slow Excel Response Times

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated August 19, 2023)
This tip applies to Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003


John described a situation in which Excel ran fine on his laptop when it was connected to his network, but ran very, very slowly when it was disconnected from the network.

According to reports from other Excel users, this may not be that uncommon of a situation. There are some things that should be checked to help rectify the situation. (And the interesting thing is that most of the things to check have absolutely nothing to do with Excel.) First of all, you may need to check your power management settings. This is a feature of Windows whereby different parts of your laptop can "shut down" or go into a low-power mode when they are not used for a while. Thus, if you walk away from the computer for a while, the hard drive may shut down after a bit. This can be bothersome, as any future activity that requires accessing the hard drive can be painfully slow because you need to wait for the hard drive to come back up to speed. To get around this problem, you can adjust your power management settings within Windows so that it never goes into the "sleep" mode.

Another possible reason for the slow response time of formatting or anything to do with appearance could be the printer settings for you workbooks. For some reason, Excel will look to see what kind of printer it would possibly be printing to, and it may even check the status of the printer (to see if it is online or offline). Most likely, you are printing to a network printer when connected to the network so there is no difficulty for Excel to look for printer information. When you are disconnected from the network Excel cannot find the printer. To solve this problem, you can setup a fake local printer and choose that as the printer to print to when you are away from the network.

If the same sort of slowdowns happen in other programs on the laptop, the problem may be with your network configuration. For instance, it is possible to configure the network settings on a laptop so that whenever network resources are required, the computer will attempt to make the network connection. If the connection cannot be made through normal methods, the computer will try to use a dial-up connection. All that checking can take a great deal of time that stops the computer from doing the work you expect it to do at the moment. The only solution to this problem is to check your network settings, paying particular attention to the network bindings.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2537) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

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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