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: Calculating Only the Active Workbook.

Calculating Only the Active Workbook

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated August 3, 2015)

Linda asked if there is a way to calculate only the active workbook. When a recalc is performed by Excel, it recalculates all her open workbooks, and if they are very large workbooks it can sometimes take over fifteen minutes to recalc. If she is able to limit what is recalculated, then the process will obviously run faster.

Unfortunately, there is no direct method to just calculate a particular workbook. You can, however, calculate just the active worksheet, if desired. First, set the recalculation mode to manual by following these steps:

  1. Choose Options from the Tools menu. Excel displays the Options dialog box.
  2. Make sure the Calculation tab is displayed. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Calculation tab of the Options dialog box.

  4. Select the Manual check box.
  5. Click OK.

Now the only time your workbook (actually, all your open workbooks) will be recalculated is when you press F9. If you want to recalculate only the current worksheet, then press Shift+F9.

Excel also provides macro functions that allow you to do any of these three things: calculate all open workbooks, calculate a specific worksheet in a workbook, or calculate a specified range of cells on a worksheet. With this knowledge you could create a macro that would loop through all the worksheets in a workbook and recalculate each of them.

The following macro sets the calculation mode to manual (so the other workbooks will not calculate) and then loops through and calculates each sheet of the active workbook.

Sub CalcBook()
    Dim wks As Worksheet
    Application.Calculation = xlManual
    For Each wks In ActiveWorkbook.Worksheets
        wks.Calculate
    Next
    Set wks = Nothing
End Sub

If you believe that you may want to calculate different parts of your workbook at different times, you can expand the macro so that it will perform any type of calculation you may want:

Sub CalcWhat()
    Dim iAnsure As Integer

    Application.Calculation = xlManual
    iAnsure = InputBox("1 = Calculate A Used Range" _
      & vbCrLf & _
      "2 = Calculate This Worksheet" _
      & vbCrLf & _
      "3 = Calculate This Workbook" _
      & vbCrLf & _
      "4 = Calculate All Workbooks in Memory" _
      & vbCrLf & vbCrLf & _
      "Input Your Selection Number From Above" _
      & vbCrLf & "Then Click OK", _
      "Calculate What?", "Input Number Please", _
      5000, 5000)

    Select Case iAnsure
        Case 1 'Range Only
            Selection.Calculate
        Case 2 'Worksheet Only
            ActiveSheet.Calculate
        Case 3 'Workbook Only
            For Each wks In ActiveWorkbook.Worksheets
                wks.Calculate
            Next
        Case 4 'All Open Workbooks
            Application.CalculateFull
        End
    End Select
End Sub

This macro presents an input box that prompts the user as to which type of recalculation is desired. When the user enters a number from 1 to 4, the desired type of recalculation is performed.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2877) 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: Calculating Only the Active Workbook.

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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