Excel Tutorial: How To Make Excel Faster


As Excel users, we've all experienced the frustration of a slow and sluggish spreadsheet. Whether it's large data sets or complex formulas, a slow Excel can significantly impact productivity. In this tutorial, we will explore tips and tricks to make Excel faster and more efficient, so you can spend less time waiting for your spreadsheet to load and more time getting work done.

A. Explanation of the importance of making Excel faster

Having a faster Excel can greatly improve efficiency and productivity. It can save time, reduce frustration, and enable users to work with larger data sets and complex formulas without experiencing significant slowdowns.

B. Brief overview of the tips that will be covered in the tutorial

We will cover a range of techniques to optimize Excel performance, including reducing file size, minimizing calculations, and optimizing settings. By implementing these tips, you can significantly improve the speed and responsiveness of your Excel spreadsheets.

Key Takeaways

  • Optimizing Excel performance is crucial for improving efficiency and productivity.
  • Removing unnecessary formatting and formulas can speed up Excel.
  • Changing calculation options and using efficient functions can significantly improve speed.
  • Filtering data and utilizing shortcuts can make data analysis and tasks faster.
  • Implementing these tips can lead to a noticeable difference in Excel speed and responsiveness.

Clearing out unnecessary formatting and formulas

When it comes to Excel, clutter can significantly slow down the program. Unnecessary formatting and formulas can take up valuable memory and processing power, causing your Excel to run sluggishly. In order to make Excel faster, it's important to regularly clean out any unnecessary clutter and streamline your spreadsheets.

Explanation of how clutter can slow down Excel

Clutter in Excel can slow down the program in several ways. Firstly, excessive formatting, such as unnecessary cell shading, borders, and fonts, can increase the file size of your spreadsheet and make it take longer to load and save. Additionally, outdated or unused formulas can also contribute to the slowdown, as Excel continues to calculate and process them even if they are no longer needed.

Step-by-step guide on removing unnecessary formatting and formulas

1. Identify unnecessary formatting: Begin by reviewing your spreadsheet and identifying any unnecessary formatting, such as excessive cell shading, borders, or font styles. Look for any cells that have formatting that is not essential for the data presentation.

2. Remove unnecessary formatting: Once you have identified the unnecessary formatting, select the affected cells and remove the formatting using the "Clear" option in the "Home" tab. You can choose to clear the formatting, borders, font styles, or any combination of these options.

3. Review and update formulas: Next, review the formulas in your spreadsheet and identify any that are outdated or no longer needed. Look for formulas that reference cells that have been deleted or data that is no longer relevant.

4. Delete unnecessary formulas: Once you have identified the unnecessary formulas, delete them from your spreadsheet. This can be done by selecting the cell containing the formula and pressing the "Delete" key, or by manually editing the formula to remove the unnecessary references.

5. Save and test: After removing the unnecessary formatting and formulas, save your spreadsheet and test its performance. You should notice a significant improvement in the speed and responsiveness of your Excel, allowing you to work more efficiently.

Optimizing calculation options

One way to make Excel faster is by optimizing the calculation options. By changing the calculation settings, you can improve the speed and performance of your Excel spreadsheets.

A. Explanation of different calculation options in Excel

Excel offers different calculation options to control when and how formulas are recalculated. The default setting is Automatic, which means that Excel will recalculate formulas whenever a change is made. However, this can slow down the performance, especially for large spreadsheets with complex formulas.

1. Automatic

With the Automatic calculation option, Excel recalculates formulas whenever a change is made to the spreadsheet. While this ensures accuracy, it can slow down the performance, especially for large and complex spreadsheets.

2. Manual

Manual calculation option requires the user to manually recalculate the formulas by pressing the F9 key or using the Calculate Now button. This can speed up the performance by only recalculating the formulas when necessary.

B. Step-by-step guide on changing calculation options to improve speed

To change the calculation options in Excel, follow these steps:

  • Click on the File tab and select Options.
  • In the Excel Options dialog box, click on Formulas.
  • Under the Calculation options, choose Manual.
  • Click OK to apply the changes.

By changing the calculation options to Manual, you can improve the speed of Excel, especially for large and complex spreadsheets. Remember to recalculate the formulas manually when necessary to ensure accuracy.

Using efficient functions and formulas

When it comes to working with large datasets in Excel, using efficient functions and formulas can make a significant impact on the speed and performance of your spreadsheet. In this section, we will explore the impact of using inefficient functions and formulas, as well as provide a step-by-step guide on replacing them with faster alternatives.

A. Explanation of the impact of using inefficient functions and formulas

Using inefficient functions and formulas in Excel can slow down the processing speed of your spreadsheet, leading to longer wait times and overall reduced efficiency. For example, using nested IF statements or volatile functions like OFFSET or INDIRECT can cause your spreadsheet to recalculate every time a change is made, resulting in a significant delay in performance.

B. Step-by-step guide on replacing inefficient functions and formulas with faster alternatives
  • Identify inefficient functions and formulas

    The first step in making your Excel spreadsheet faster is to identify inefficient functions and formulas that are causing the slowdown. Look for nested IF statements, volatile functions, and array formulas that could be replaced with faster alternatives.

  • Replace nested IF statements with LOOKUP functions

    Nested IF statements can be cumbersome and slow to process. Consider using LOOKUP functions such as VLOOKUP or HLOOKUP, which are more efficient and can perform the same tasks with less processing time.

  • Avoid volatile functions

    Avoid using volatile functions like OFFSET or INDIRECT, as they can cause your spreadsheet to recalculate unnecessarily. Look for alternative non-volatile functions that can achieve the same results without impacting performance.

  • Use helper columns for complex calculations

    For complex calculations, consider using helper columns to break down the process into smaller, more manageable steps. This can help reduce the strain on the spreadsheet and improve processing speed.

  • Consider using array formulas sparingly

    While array formulas can be powerful, they can also slow down the processing speed of your spreadsheet. Use them sparingly and consider alternative non-array formulas for simpler and faster calculations.

By replacing inefficient functions and formulas with faster alternatives, you can significantly improve the speed and performance of your Excel spreadsheet, making it easier to work with large datasets and improving overall efficiency.

Filtering data for faster analysis

Excel filters are a powerful tool for quickly analyzing large datasets. By using filters, you can easily isolate and analyze specific subsets of data, which can significantly speed up the analysis process.

Explanation of how filtering can speed up data analysis

When working with large datasets in Excel, it can be time-consuming to manually sort through the data to find the information you need. However, by using filters, you can quickly isolate specific criteria and focus your analysis on the relevant data. This can save a significant amount of time and make the analysis process much more efficient.

Step-by-step guide on using filters to quickly analyze large datasets

To use filters in Excel for faster data analysis, follow these steps:

  • Step 1: Open your Excel spreadsheet and select the dataset you want to analyze.
  • Step 2: Go to the "Data" tab and click on the "Filter" button. This will add filter arrows to the header row of your dataset.
  • Step 3: Click on the filter arrow in the column you want to filter by, and select the criteria you want to focus on. This will hide all rows that do not meet the specified criteria.
  • Step 4: You can apply multiple filters to further refine the dataset and analyze specific subsets of data.
  • Step 5: Once you have filtered the data, you can perform your analysis on the subset of data that meets your criteria, saving time and effort.

Utilizing shortcuts and keyboard commands

Utilizing shortcuts and keyboard commands is an essential skill for making Excel faster and more efficient. By mastering these techniques, you can significantly reduce the time it takes to perform various tasks, navigate through your spreadsheets, and execute commands.

A. Explanation of how shortcuts and keyboard commands can improve efficiency

Shortcuts and keyboard commands allow you to perform tasks in Excel without having to use the mouse or navigate through the ribbon menu. This can save you a significant amount of time, as it eliminates the need to switch back and forth between the keyboard and mouse. Additionally, using shortcuts and keyboard commands can help to minimize the risk of repetitive strain injuries, as it reduces the amount of clicking and scrolling required.

B. List of essential shortcuts and keyboard commands for speeding up Excel tasks
  • Ctrl + C/V/X - Copy, paste, and cut selected cells or text
  • Ctrl + Z - Undo the last action
  • Ctrl + Arrow Keys - Navigate to the edge of the data region in a worksheet
  • Ctrl + Shift + Arrow Keys - Select a range of cells
  • Ctrl + Home/End - Navigate to the beginning or end of a worksheet
  • Ctrl + Shift + L - Apply or remove filters
  • Alt + = - Automatically sum a column of numbers
  • F2 - Edit the active cell
  • F4 - Repeat the last action
  • F7 - Spell check the active worksheet


Mastering shortcuts and keyboard commands in Excel is a crucial skill for improving efficiency and productivity. By familiarizing yourself with these essential shortcuts and commands, you can streamline your workflow and complete tasks more quickly and effectively.


In this tutorial, we covered several tips to make Excel faster, such as minimizing the number of open workbooks, avoiding volatile functions, and disabling automatic calculations. By implementing these strategies, you can greatly improve the speed and efficiency of your Excel program. We encourage you to give these tips a try and see the difference it makes in your Excel performance. Happy Excel-ing!

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