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: Bogging Down with Calculated Items.

Bogging Down with Calculated Items

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 19, 2018)

Torben wrote about a problem he was having with PivotTables in Excel. It seems that whenever he adds calculated items to the PivotTable, Excel takes a performance hit. If his dataset contains even a few thousand records, Excel even hangs.

PivotTables put a huge strain on Excel, as it slices, dices, and analyzes the data to create the table. The amount of strain experienced depends on many different factors, such as size of the dataset, the data in the PivotTable, etc. These factors can seemingly conspire against you, leaving you with a system that is sluggish at best.

There are ways, however, to change how Excel works with data to create the PivotTable. If you modify the settings that control this process, you may notice an improvement in Excel's responsiveness. There is no guarantee that these changes will cure all PivotTable problems, but they offer a good place to start. The changes you can make are covered in a Knowledge Base article, located here:

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/273583

Read through the article and try some of the suggestions—you never know; it could make your PivotTables easier and faster to work with. (Even though the article specifically says it is applicable to Excel 2000, the concepts it suggests can be easily used with other versions of Excel.)

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2619) 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: Bogging Down with Calculated Items.

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

Avoiding a Section Break Booby Trap

Section breaks got your document formatting all messed up? It could be because of the way you added the section breaks in ...

Discover More

Creating Multiple Blank Documents in One Step

Word makes it easy to create a new, blank document. What if you want to create more than one document at a time, however? ...

Discover More

Files Opening Slowly If Many Files Exist

Managing large numbers of documents in Word can lead to some interesting challenges. One potential challenge is that your ...

Discover More

Professional Development Guidance! Four world-class developers offer start-to-finish guidance for building powerful, robust, and secure applications with Excel. The authors show how to consistently make the right design decisions and make the most of Excel's powerful features. Check out Professional Excel Development today!

More ExcelTips (menu)

Refreshing PivotTable Data

If you modify the data on which a PivotTable is based, you'll need to refresh the table so it reflects the modified data. ...

Discover More

Default Formatting for PivotTables

Wish there was a way to define how you want PivotTables formatted before you actually create the PivotTable? You may be ...

Discover More

Changing the Default PivotTable Functions

When you create a PivotTable, Excel automatically sums the data that you place into the Data Items area of the table. ...

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 six more than 9?

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.