Thu. Jun 13th, 2024

Microsoft Excel files can contain massive amounts of data, formatting, and formulas, all of which can make Excel less responsive. Thankfully, Excel for Windows is rolling out a “Check Performance” feature to fix that.

Microsoft released a Check Performance feature in the web version of Excel back in 2022. It searches for empty cells that still contain formatting data, such as custom text alignment or a fill color, and clears that data. Nearly two years later, that functionality is coming to Excel for Windows.

Microsoft said in a blog post, “Over time, large worksheets can collect unnecessary formatting and metadata, which can reduce performance. This may happen when data is deleted but the underlying formatting is not. Excel can now automatically detect performance issues and suggest ways to address them. You can also manually run the Check Performance command at any time to identify and address performance issues.”

The Check Performance button is available in the Review tab in Excel, and it may appear automatically in a notification popup if Excel detects cells with unnecessary formatting. That will open the Workbook Performance pane, with an explanation of some data Excel can delete for you. You can go through the changes on a per-sheet basis, or just click the “Optimize all” button to let Excel do everything.

Screenshot of a workbook performance optimization tool with options to fix empty cells and a highlighted Optimize sheet button.

There’s still no confirmation on when the Check Performance feature will arrive in Excel for Mac or the mobile apps for Android, iPhone, and iPad. If you have some spreadsheets you want to clean up, you’ll just have open them in the web or Windows apps for now.

Microsoft warns the feature can cause visual changes to your worksheet, which is why it’s not done automatically, but no text and numerical cell data is ever modified. The blog post explains, “The optimization process may cause visible changes to your worksheets. For example, removing the fill color from empty cells results in resetting the fill to No Color. This feature requires user input and doesn’t automatically optimize performance in the background.”

Check Performance is rolling out to people in the Beta Channel or Current Channel Preview, in Excel version 2312 (Build 17126.20004) or later. It should arrive for everyone using Excel for Windows sometime in the coming weeks or months.

Source: Microsoft 365 Insider Blog

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By John P.

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