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MS Excel 2.x/3.x/4.x Worksheets Take a Long Time to Open/Save

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Microsoft Excel versions 5.0 and later use the "shared formulas" method for storing repeated formulas. If your worksheet contains many similar formulas, this storage method may decrease the size of your file. As a result, these files take less room on your disk and require less memory when they are open. In addition, it may take less time for a file to open, for a sheet to be recalculated, or for cell references to be adjusted (for example, when you insert a row or column). Note that these file size improvements and performance enhancements may be imperceptible if your sheet does not contain many formulas or does not contain formulas with repeated information.

When you open files created in versions of Microsoft Excel earlier than 5.0, or files that are in external file formats, the formulas in these files are converted to shared formulas. This conversion process results in a slight increase (5-percent to 15-percent) in the amount of time that it takes to open the file. However, once you save the file in the Microsoft Excel 5.0 and later file format (in the Save As dialog box, choose Microsoft Excel Workbook under Save File As Type), the file will load and save faster and will require less disk space.

Example of Performance Enhancement

Following is an example of the performance enhancement provided by this new feature. Note that the time it takes to load and save a file will vary depending on the way your computer is configured.

If cells A1:CZ100 of a Microsoft Excel 4.0 worksheet contain the following formula


when you save this file, it requires 681,790 bytes of disk space. When you close and reopen this file in Microsoft Excel 4.0, it takes 16 seconds to open. When you load this file in Microsoft Excel 5.0 and later, it takes 22 seconds to load. However, when you save this file as a Microsoft Excel 5.0 Workbook, the file size shrinks to 345,600 bytes. When you close and reopen this file, it takes 6 seconds to load.

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Keywords: KB104310, kbinfo

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Article Info
Article ID : 104310
Revision : 3
Created on : 8/15/2003
Published on : 8/15/2003
Exists online : False
Views : 452