Microsoft Excel spreadsheets can contain thousands of cells for storing data, which can slow down your PC even if there is no visible data in many of the cells. Fortunately, Microsoft is rolling out a new feature to improve spreadsheet performance.
Microsoft mentioned in a recent blog post that empty cells with leftover formatting and style information can often slow performance and increase file size. The company said, “we have observed that over time a workbook may accumulate cells that have no data, but still contain hidden information that has little or no further use. These cells may have had data and formatting in the beginning, but now they have no data but still take up space because they contain formatting. “
Microsoft’s first attempt to solve this is a new “Check Performance” feature, accessible from the Check tab in Excel Online. It looks for empty cells that still contain formatting data, such as a fill color or custom text alignment, and gives you a button to clear the data. Microsoft’s example used a spreadsheet with more than a million empty cells, with the file size decreasing from 3.14 MB to 17.5 kB. Importantly, the function does not run automatically, so you don’t have to worry about losing formatting you want to use later.
Check Performance is now rolling out to Excel Online for paid Microsoft 365 subscribers, and Microsoft says it has “upcoming plans” to bring the feature to Excel for Windows and Mac. The company is also investigating other common problems that can be added to the detection for Check Performance.