How to Resolve "Excel Running Slow"?

Today, Excel running slow is the most common problem faced by users. Recently, a lot of users have a complaint about this problem. There is no doubt that Microsoft Excel is a useful and powerful program, but it starts to run slow when you are dealing with large data set. It is a frustrating problem that occurs randomly. The frustration of the users increases when their excel files get corrupted inevitably. So, if you are also going through this same situation, then you have come to the right page. Here, in this post, you will get to know what are the reasons and symptoms behind the problem and how you can fix it effectively.

Part 1: Causes of "Excel Running Slow":

You might be wondering to know what the probable reasons behind Excel processing slow are and so, here are all major causes of Excel running very slow.

1. Invalid names in Name Manager

Excel has a "Name Manager" feature to manage names and the name ranges in Microsoft Excel that has numbers, letters, and special characters. And it might be possible that Excel can't able to resolve the names because as worksheets grow, you also end up with more and more name referencing. The best thing you can do in this type of situation is to move to the name manager and remove invalid names.

2. Excessive Volatile Functions

The excessive volatile functions can also probably slow down your Excel when you are tackling large datasets. So, if you are using volatile functions such as VLOOKUP excessively, then it can be the reason why your Excel running slow. That's also the reason why most businesses don't prefer volatile functions when it comes to large data sets.

3. Unresolved Formulas

Another reason for Excel lagging is Unresolved Formulas. So, if you have a sheet in your excel whose cell has a value>0, then it means a cell having unresolved formulas. And that can also be the reason why you have encountered this problem.

4. Column References

Sometimes, not giving the optimizing column references can also slow down the performance of Excel. You need to optimize references. It is recommended to minimize the number of cells you are referencing in your Excel worksheet.

Moreover, if you are using a formula like VLOOKUP that has to look at million records, then it will certainly slow down your Excel performance. Thus, it is also recommended not to use a formula that needs to look at a lot of records. Otherwise, you will face a performance issue in Excel.

5. Too big spreadsheet

Are you having a too big spreadsheet in your Microsoft Excel? If your answer is yes, then it is also one of the reasons behind Excel working slow. Many users have a bad habit of storing a lot of data in one sheet. Moreover, if you are using volatile functions along with too big spreadsheets, then it will slow down your Excel performance. Thus, in this scenario, all you have to do is to reduce file size in Excel to come out of this problem.

6. Automatic Formula Calculation

Automatic Formula Calculation is also the cause of Excel running slowly. In the case of automatic calculation, formulas are recalculated whenever you make any change. This sometimes makes Excel slow and that's why it is recommended to enable the manual calculation.

Part 2: Symptoms of "Excel Running Slow":

Now, let's explore what can be the symptoms of Excel running slow, and below, we have listed every possible sign of the problem.

1. Excel processing slow

The first and most common sign of Excel running very slow is that it is processing slow. It is taking too much time to process the operations you are doing in your Excel sheet. The reasons why your Excel processing is slow can be because of Array formulas or volatile functions you are using.

2. Excel slow calculating

Another symptom of Excel running very slow is there is a performance issue in doing the calculation. Poor calculation speed further affects productivity and enhances user error. The reasons why your Excel is calculating formulas slowly maybe you are using volatile functions in excess or not keeping all referenced data in one sheet. So, avoid volatile functions to get rid of Excel's slow calculating problem.

3. Excel is slow to open files

If your Excel is taking a very long time to open certain files, then it directly shows that your Excel is running slow and you need to do something to fix it. There can be many reasons why Excel slows to open files. First of all, it can be because you have stored a lot of data in one file or you have used too many volatile or complex functions in the Excel file.

4. System Memory

There is no doubt that Excel has enough capability of creating big sheets, but as the sheet gets bigger, it requires more memory. If your system memory is low, and you are having a too big spreadsheet, then it will probably slow down your Excel. Thus, you need to manage your spreadsheet size as per your system memory. Otherwise, you will have to face performance complications.

Part 3: How to Fix "Excel Running Slow"?

You now are well familiar with the causes and symptoms of Excel running very slow. Let's move towards its fixes to speed up Excel.

Solution 1: Keep Spreadsheet Small

Too big spreadsheets in Excel can slow down the Excel speed because big Excel spreadsheets also take large space on your system.

You also know that you need enough free storage space on your system so that you can do your task on the system smoothly and efficiently.

Here are some ways to reduce the file size in Excel:

  • Save Excel File as the .xlsb file format
  • Eliminate Unused Cells
  • Eliminate Cell Formatting
  • Remove Unwanted Formulas
  • Compress Images

Solution 2: Enable Manual Calculation

Another solution to fix the problem is enabling the Manual Calculation mode in your Excel. When manual mode is turned on, the Excel will not perform calculations until you don't press F9. The Automatic calculation mode will make Excel do calculations automatically and that can slow down the Excel speed to a great extent. Thus, the best thing you can do is turning on the Manual Calculation Mode. Below are the steps on how

you can do it to fix Excel working slow:

Step 1: To begin the process, choose "File" and then, "Excel Options" and then, "Formulas" tab.

Step 2: After that, go to "Calculation Option" and then, select the "Manual" button under the "Workbook Calculation.

Step 3: Also, check the "Recalculate Workbook before saving" option if you like to make sure that the workbook calculation is always current. You can uncheck it if you want to calculate the formula using the F9 key before you exit.

Solution 3: Avoid Volatile Formula

As we told you earlier, volatile formulas are one of the reasons for this problem. So, the best thing is to get rid of the volatile formula to speed up your Excel. Some examples of volatile formulas are NOW, INDIRECT, OFFSET, etc. For instance, if you use the INDIRECT formula in a cell, and when you make any change, then the formula will also be recalculated.

So, the volatile functions take more processing speed, and then, you end up facing the slow Excel speed. Thus, avoid using the volatile formula or if you can't, then try to minimize its use.

Solution 4: Convert Formula to Value - change the unused formulas to static values:

There are many formulas in Excel that lead to its slow performance. And thus, if you have unused formulas in Excel, then it is better to change them to static values. There are many ways to convert unused formulas to static values in Excel. Here are shown using the Paste special method.

Step 1: Choose the cells you want to change formulas to values. After that, copy the cells using CTRL+C.

Step 2: Then, move to "Home">" Clipboard">" Paste">" Paste Special".

Solution 5: Clear Rules - avoid using the entire row/column as a reference (A: A)

When you reference the whole row or column as you think it consists of a few cells, Excel checks the reference row or column anyways. This takes a lot of time to do calculations and that ultimately slowdowns the Excel speed. Thus, if you want to fix the Excel processing slow, then you need to avoid using the entire row/column as a reference.

Solution 6: Reference Fewer Cells

A cell reference is used to determine a particular cell or cell range in the sheet. It can be used in function so that Excel can find the data easily you want in function to calculate. So, if you refer to a lot of cells, then it can affect the Excel performance. That's why it is always recommended that you should reference fewer cells so that Excel calculate formula or function smoothly.

Solution 7: Repair Excel File

If Excel slows to open files, then you can repair Excel files to resolve the problem with ease. Luckily, there are a lot of third-party tools available that can help you to do this. The Internet is full of third-party tools and they make it easy for users to fix Excel errors and problems. By the way, you may also see another Excel issue "out of memory".

Part 4: How to Repair Excel File?

When it comes to repairing an Excel file, the Stellar Excel Repair software stands out from the huge crowd. As you need a powerful tool to repair Excel files and this software can make it possible.

1. Free Download Stellar Excel Repair

If you are looking for third-party software for repairing damaged or corrupt Excel, then don't go further from the Stellar Excel Repair. It is the most efficient Excel file repair tool that can help you to retrieve everything from a damaged file to a new Excel file with ease. The Stellar Excel Repair comes with a lot of remarkable features that make it the most reliable tool. It can aid you to recover charts, cell comments, formulas, tables, etc from the corrupted Excel file.

With it, you can repair both single and multiple files (XLS/XLSX). This all-in-one tool can fix every kind of Excel corruption errors. Moreover, it is compatible with a lot of MS Excel versions, such as 2016, 2013, etc. The software can also help you to come out of the Excel lagging issue due to large spreadsheets.

Here are key features of Stellar Excel Repair:

  • This software can aid you to repair a batch of Excel files at the same time in a single attempt.
  • It has a simple and easy-to-use interface and that's why you can easily the tool even if you are a beginner-level user.
  • With this tool, you can repair your damaged Excel file and retrieve all properties of the file.
  • It will aid you to recover Excel files without any trouble or hitch.

2. How to Repair MS Excel File

Here is the step-by-step guide on how to repair MS Excel Files with the help of Stellar Excel Repair software.

file Repair Toolkit

  • Repair 4 types of files, namely Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Zip.
  • Offer excellent search options to find corrupted files instantly.
  • Preview and recover all the data contained in the corrupted files.
  • Repair files are corrupted due to different causes and from all devices.

Step 1: Download and Install Software:

To begin the process, download the software from its official site on your computer. After installing it successfully, run it.

Step 2: Choose Excel File:

After that, you need to choose the Excel file you want to repair. To do this, tap on the "Select File Button". Or tap on "Search Folder" to look at the file in a particular folder. Or tap on "Search File(s)" to look at the file in a particular drive.

Step 3: Start Scan Process:

Once selected the Excel file, click on the "Scan" button to begin the scanning process. When the scanning process is completed, you will get a preview of the repaired file.

Step 4: Save Repaired Excel File:

Thereafter, tap on the "Save" button to save the Excel file that the software has repaired. You can save the repaired Excel file either at default or a new location.

Step 5: Repair Process Completed:

Once you saved the repaired Excel file, you will get a prompt message that says your Excel file repair process is finished.

Part 5: Tips for Avoiding "Excel Running Slow":

Want tips to avoid Excel working slow problems? Here are some effective tips that can aid you to avoid the problem in the future.

1. Keep Everything In Single Workbook

When you keep everything in a single workbook rather than using multiple workbooks, it will probably aid you to avoid the slow performance in Excel. More workbooks mean more references and that's why when you can multiple sheets, your Excel slowdowns.

2. Sort Data

Another common reason why Excel speed becomes slows is the lack of sorting. To have great Excel performance, you need to sort the data in a well-mannered way.

3. Don't Use Volatile Formulas

The volatile formulas are recalculated whenever you make a change in your sheet. The examples of the volatile formulas are NOW, INDIRECT, etc. When sheets in your Excel consist of many volatile formulas, your Excel speed becomes very slow. Thus, it is better to get rid of volatile formulas to optimize Excel performance and speed.

4. Enable Manual Calculation Mode

When you enable the manual calculation mode, you get an excess to allow Excel to do the calculation, rather than Excel do it automatically.

This will certainly improve the Excel speed and help you to come out of the Excel lagging problem with ease.

5. Avoid Using the Entire Column/Row as Reference

If you have a bad habit of using the whole row or column as a reference, then you should get rid of it as soon as possible. Otherwise, you will probably go through the performance issue in your Excel.

6. Disable Excel Add-ins

No doubt, the Excel Add-Ins are helpful, but sometimes, they slow down Excel, and then, Excel leads to freezing and crashing. That's why it is better to disable the entire Excel Add-ins. To do this, move to "File">" Options">" Add-Ins".


That's all on how to come out of the Excel running slow problem. Here are probable methods that can fix the problem. No doubt, it is very annoying when your Excel speed becomes slow, but still, there are a lot of ways that can aid you to resolve the problem. And if in any case your Excel file gets corrupted or damaged, then you can use Stellar Excel Repair software that can restore everything from a damaged file to the new one. As it is a free tool and thus, give it a try and you will get to know how powerful it is to fix all Excel problems.

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