Why Is Excel So Slow

Productivity Software

Have you ever experienced the frustration of working with a slow Microsoft Excel? I know I have, and it can be incredibly frustrating, especially when you’re trying to get work done efficiently. In this article, I want to delve into the reasons why Excel can run slow and provide some insights on how to improve its performance.

Reasons for Slow Excel Performance

There are several factors that can contribute to Excel’s sluggish performance. One common reason is the size of the spreadsheet itself. Large, complex spreadsheets with numerous formulas, charts, and conditional formatting can put a strain on Excel’s processing power. Additionally, running resource-intensive add-ins or having too many applications open at the same time can also slow down Excel.

Another factor to consider is the hardware and software configuration of your computer. Outdated hardware, insufficient RAM, or running an outdated version of Excel can all contribute to slow performance. Additionally, if your spreadsheet is stored on a network drive with a slow connection, it can significantly impact Excel’s responsiveness.

Ways to Improve Excel Performance

If you find yourself frustrated with Excel’s slow performance, there are several steps you can take to improve its speed. One of the first things to consider is optimizing your spreadsheet. This can involve reducing the number of unnecessary formulas, simplifying complex calculations, and limiting the use of volatile functions.

Consider using Excel’s built-in functionality such as PivotTables and Power Query to streamline your data analysis. These tools can improve performance by offloading some of the processing work from regular worksheets to more efficient data models.

Another tip is to check for and disable any resource-heavy add-ins that you may have installed. Often, add-ins can consume a significant amount of system resources, leading to slower performance. You can also try running Excel in safe mode to see if any third-party add-ins are causing the slowdown.

When it comes to hardware and software, consider upgrading your computer’s hardware, particularly the RAM, to provide Excel with more processing power. Additionally, ensure that you are running the latest version of Excel and that your operating system and drivers are up to date.


In conclusion, Excel’s slow performance can be attributed to a variety of factors including the size and complexity of the spreadsheet, hardware and software configuration, and the use of resource-intensive add-ins. By optimizing your spreadsheet, utilizing built-in Excel features, and maintaining an efficient computer setup, you can significantly improve Excel’s performance. So, the next time you find yourself frustrated with Excel’s slowness, consider implementing these tips to enhance your productivity.