Big File Memory Blues

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 16, 2014)

John reported that it is possible to create a workbook that is larger than Excel can handle. For instance, he successfully imported about 65,000 rows of data into a worksheet where all the data was a single column wide. He then added about 25 columns worth of formulas with no problem. He saved the file, and it occupied about 84 MB on the hard drive.

When John went to reopen the workbook, Excel balked, giving the message "Not Enough Memory," despite the fact that he had previously had the workbook open in Excel when he created it, and despite the fact that his system had more than enough RAM in it.

John was using Excel 2000 at the time that he generated this error. In researching solutions, he found that for versions prior to Excel 2002 there is a 64 MB limit on Excel's memory usage. This limit was increased to 128 MB in Excel 2002, and to a full 1 GB in Excel 2003. Details are found in the following Knowledge Base article:

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/313275

It is interesting to note that these memory limits are per-instance, which means that you may have troubles if you open multiple workbooks whose aggregate memory usage approaches or exceeds the limits noted above. Thus, if you have several very large workbooks, you may want to open them in separate instances of Excel.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2827) 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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Determining the Length of a String

Need to find out in a macro how long a particular text string is? You can figure it out by using the Len function, described ...

Discover More

Positioning Graphics Evenly

If you have some graphics inserted in your document, you may want to adjust the horizontal space between those graphics. ...

Discover More

Creating a Table of Contents from TOC Fields

If you inserted a bunch of TOC fields in your document, you can create your table of contents quite easily based on those ...

Discover More

Create Custom Apps with VBA! Discover how to extend the capabilities of Office 2013 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access) with VBA programming, using it for writing macros, automating Office applications, and creating custom applications. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2013 today!

More ExcelTips (menu)

Finding the Number of Significant Digits

When looking at a number, you may wonder how many significant digits it contains. The answer is not always an easy one, ...

Discover More

Where Is that Name?

Want to easily see the location of named ranges in your worksheet? It's easy; all you need to do is use the familiar Zoom ...

Discover More

A Ruler in Excel

A few workarounds for the fact that Excel does not have a built-in ruler.

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 7 + 6?

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.