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Check Performance in Excel

Feb 5, 2024 5:30:06 PM

Slow Excel workbook? This new feature may just save your day.

Announced by Microsoft on 30th January 2024

In this latest article in our Future of Excel series, we take a quick look at Excel's new Check Performance feature.


Do you have a slow Excel spreadsheet?

Anyone who uses Excel regularly will have come across Excel workbooks that are slow to open and update for no obvious reason. They are often inexplicably 3-4 mb in size even though they don't appear to have much in them.

This can often be caused by something as simple as cell formatting (including conditional formatting).

Excel now has 1,048,576 rows and 16,384 columns - that is 17,179,869,184 cells.

Per worksheet!

That a lot of opportunity for unnecessary cell formatting.

Let's take a simple example, one that I see a lot.

Ever selected a whole row and coloured it in yellow? That is 16,384 cells coloured in, most of which is completely unnecessary. Ten rows = 163,840 cells.

What about a whole column? That is 1,048,576 cells. Select ten columns and that's 10,485,760 cells.

This seemingly innocent formatting will slow down your workbook considerably.

Check Performance

To help address this problem, Microsoft has recently announced a new "Check Performance" feature for Excel.

Check Performance detects whether your workbook contains too many unnecessarily formatted cells and helps you find them using a handy "business bar" on the right of the screen.

The feature can also be launched from the Review tab on the Excel Ribbon.

Here's a short video from the Microsoft team explaining how it works:


My thoughts

Microsoft are doing a great job of releasing new features to address the issues users are facing on a regular basis.

The Check Performance tool is a very welcome addition to the Excel feature set.

Release date

The Check performance feature is currently available in the Beta channel version of Excel.

Our Future of Excel series

This series of articles focuses on new features recently released or soon to be released in Excel. See the announcement from the MICROSOFT TECH COMMUNITY team. (nb the article is from the original Excel web announcement)

See other articles in our Future of Excel series here.


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