Microsoft Excel spreadsheets can have thousands of cells for storing data, which can slow down your PC — even if there’s no visible data in many of the cells. Thankfully, 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 down performance and increase file size. The company said, “we observed that over time, a workbook can collect cells that have no data but still contain hidden information of little or no use anymore. These cells may have had data and formatting to start with, however now they do not have any data, but still take up space because they contain formatting.”
Microsoft’s first attempt to fix this is a new “Check Performance” feature, which is accessible from the Review tab in Excel Online. It searches for empty cells that still contain formatting data, like 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 feature doesn’t run automatically, so you don’t have to worry about losing formatting that you intend to use later.
Check Performance is rolling out now 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 could be added to the detection for Check Performance.