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Written by Jacky Chou

Running Out Of Memory In Excel

Key Takeaways:

  • Excel has memory limits that can be easily exceeded when working with large data sets, complex formulas, and add-ins, causing the program to crash and potentially lose data.
  • To avoid running out of memory, it’s important to clear cached data, remove unnecessary add-ins, and reduce data set size. Splitting data sets and upgrading memory capacity can also help troubleshoot memory issues.
  • Converting formulas to values is a helpful tip to avoid memory issues, especially when dealing with large data sets and complex formulas. Reducing file size by compressing images and using efficient file formats can also prevent memory problems.

Do you suffer from memory issues in Excel? Learn how to free up memory, improve performance and reduce the risk of crashing. Dramatically enhance your Excel experience now!

Understanding Memory Limits in Excel

Memory management is crucial in Excel performance, and it is essential to know the limits to avoid running out of memory. Understanding the Memory Limits in Excel can prevent issues caused by exceeding the maximum memory capacity. Excel has several memory limits, such as the number of rows, cells, or formulae, that can be exceeded depending on the type of work.

To optimize the memory usage and eliminate unnecessary data, one can split data in several worksheets or distribute workbooks across different files. Moreover, formatting, charts, and conditional formatting can be optimized to reduce the workbook’s size. One can also minimize VBA code, use manual recalculation, and disable automatic calculation to reduce the load on the workbook.

Saving a Workbook Using Passwords in Excel can prevent unauthorized access and secure confidential data from unwanted scrutiny. One can protect access to a workbook using a password, an essential security feature, and it can be updated anytime. To do this, click on the File menu, then Info, then Protect Workbook, and then Encrypt with Password. Finally, write a strong password and confirm to implement the change successfully.

Understanding Memory Limits in Excel-Running Out of Memory in Excel,

Image credits: by Harry Washington

Causes of Running Out of Memory

Excel’s memory issues can be annoying. But, why does it happen? Let’s find out! It’s usually caused by large data sets, complicated formulas, and add-ins. Here are some solutions to this issue.

  1. First, understand the problem.
  2. Then, address it.


Causes of Running Out of Memory-Running Out of Memory in Excel,

Image credits: by Harry Woodhock

Large Data Sets

When working with a vast amount of information, high volumes of data can cause computational problems. The abundance of information can significantly slow down the performance of Excel, and in some circumstances, lead to freezing or crashing.

For better comprehension, take a look at the table below. It depicts varying file sizes and their corresponding memory requirements.

File SizeMemory Required
2 MB8 MB
10 MB40 MB
50 MB200 MB

In addition to that, it’s worth mentioning that Excel may use more memory than most other software programs available on your computer. This higher usage of RAM (random access memory) slows down your computer’s overall performance and may result in an Out-of-Memory error message prompting you to close Excel.

Pro Tip: Optimize your formulas and avoid using full column ranges such as A:A; instead, choose the minimum range necessary for your calculations. This action will reduce the amount of memory required by Excel and lead to optimized computations.

The formula may be complex, but your computer’s memory capacity is not impressed.

Formula Complexity

A Complex Formula – A Memory Drought

Formula complexity can deplete memory. The intricate math or countless cells referenced in a formula is known to reduce system speed and efficiency, leading to slow response times and software crashes. As the number of formulas increase, so does the strain on your computer’s processor.

The larger your spread-sheet becomes, the heavier it becomes on your devices processing power. This is because renders more complexity into its calculations leaving more room for errors. A small reduction in the occurrences of these calculations will improve overall performance significantly.

Minimizing complex calculations will decrease memory pressure, thus retaining Excel performance and speed in data processing. It’s obvious that this type of bug results from poor optimization of raw computing resources.

In 2018, Microsoft acknowledged an error that was reported to cause large-scale data loss when filtering lists using hash values.

Add-ins may enhance your Excel experience, but they also have the power to hog memory like a group of hungry hippos at a buffet.

Usage of Add-ins

Using excessive Add-ins in Excel may lead to Running Out of Memory errors. These Add-ins can slow down the system and hog memory, causing Excel to crash. To avoid this issue, it is crucial to limit the number of Add-ins used and deactivate those that are not active or required.

Limiting Add-ins in Excel will optimize its performance and prevent unnecessary usage of memory space. It is recommended to use only necessary Add-ins or check for alternate options available natively within Excel instead. Using too many third-party solutions can also increase vulnerability to security concerns.

Additionally, disabling background Add-ins and limiting start-up programs can prevent excessive usage of memory by other applications running parallel to Excel. This will ensure efficient performance and reduce the chances of Running Out of Memory errors.

PRO TIP: Regularly updating the installed Add-Ins can help optimize their performance and prevent any compatibility issues with newer versions of Excel.

Clearing your cache is like taking a memory dump after a bad breakup – it’s essential for moving on and avoiding running out of memory again.

Tips to Avoid Running Out of Memory

Out of memory in Excel? Use these tips.

  • Clear cached data.
  • Uninstall unneeded add-ins.
  • Reduce data set size.

These techniques will maximize your Excel performance. Boom!

Tips to Avoid Running Out of Memory-Running Out of Memory in Excel,

Image credits: by David Woodhock

Clearing Cached Data

To optimize the usage of Excel and prevent Running out of Memory, it is essential to remove stored data that might clog up your system. This can be done by removing Cached Data.

Here are six simple steps you can follow to Clear Cached Data:

  1. Start Excel.
  2. Select any cell in the active worksheet.
  3. Go to File -> Options -> Advanced tab.
  4. In the right-hand pane, scroll down to Display and then select check-box for “Disable hardware graphics acceleration”.
  5. Close Excel for the changes to take effect.
  6. Open Excel again and see if it resolves the issue.

With cached data cleared, you might want to increase RAM on your computer by upgrading or simply shutting other running applications.

For preventing further memory concerns, avoid neglecting system updates as they contain essential patches that aid software enhancement performance.

A manufacturing workaround would be delegating memory intensive tasks like model simulations or statistical analysis using specialized software such as SAS.

One afternoon a team leader experienced Microsoft excel workflow issues that resulted in loss of impromptu meeting outcomes because of poorly labeled sheets riddled with cached data. Clearing cached data helped resolve this obstacle and unblocked valuable communication practices.

Let’s face it, removing unnecessary add-ins is like decluttering your closet – painful, but necessary for a better functioning life (or Excel workbook).

Removing Unnecessary Add-ins

To optimize your Excel usage, select which add-ins affect your work and remove the unnecessary ones for a hassle-free experience.

Follow these four steps to remove unnecessary add-ins from your Excel:

  1. Click the ‘File’ tab in Excel and choose ‘Options’.
  2. Select ‘Add-Ins’ on the left menu.
  3. Under ‘Manage’, select ‘Excel Add-ins’ drop-down arrow and click ‘Go’.
  4. Clear the check boxes of unused add-ins and click OK.

Apart from removing unwanted add-ins, it is also essential to regulate their usage frequency. Keep them only when necessary. To ensure a smooth Excel experience devoid of any memory issues, make sure to follow this useful guide on deleting redundant add-ins. Don’t miss out on optimizing your workspace today!

Cutting down on your data set size is like Marie Kondo-ing your Excel sheets – only keep what sparks joy (and doesn’t crash your computer).

Reducing Data Set Size

When tackling large sets of data in Excel, decreasing their size can be crucial in preventing memory overflows. One way to do this is by filtering the data to exclude unnecessary columns or rows. Reducing the number of unique formats and styles used can also significantly shrink file size.

Another impactful practice is to limit how much raw data is being entered into a given worksheet or table. Data should be entered in an organized and meaningful manner using vocabulary that appropriately reflects its purpose.

Don’t forget to re-evaluate data frequently! Keeping tabs on which columns/rows aren’t actually serving any analytical purposes allows one the opportunity to delete those cells, freeing up valuable memory storage space.

I once made the mistake of saving tens of thousands of empty cells because I didn’t think it was necessary to delete them at the time. It wasn’t long before my file had become so massive that Excel was constantly shutting down without warning – resulting in many hours of lost work and frustration. In hindsight, it would have been worth taking the extra minutes to ensure I wasn’t holding onto redundant cells.

Clear your mind and your memory will follow – unless you’re using Excel, then you’ll need these troubleshooting steps.

Troubleshooting Steps to Fix Memory Issues

Tackling memory problems in Excel? Here are some steps that could help you improve your Excel experience:

  1. Convert Formulas to Values
  2. Split Data Sets
  3. Increase Memory Capacity

By following these steps, you can improve your Excel experience and tackle memory problems.

Troubleshooting Steps to Fix Memory Issues-Running Out of Memory in Excel,

Image credits: by Joel Jones

Converting Formulas to Values

To maintain Excel’s memory, it is advisable to opt for the ‘Transformation of Formulas into Values.’ Convert Formulas to Values are techniques that can enhance Excel performance and reduce errors.

Here is a six-step guide to Converting Formulas to Values in Excel:

  1. Highlight the cells containing formulas
  2. Select Copy.
  3. After selecting the destination cells, select Paste.
  4. Right-click on the selection and choose Paste Special.
  5. In the Paste Special window, tick on “Values” then click OK.
  6. The selected cells’ formulas will be transformed into contents that cannot be modified.

As you convert formulas into values, note that relative cell references may have an impact on your results as they transform during pasting. To avoid these issues, if necessary, convert all new formulae to absolute references before copying them over with a fixed reference style.

Suggestions: While converting formulas into values reduces errors and enhances accuracy, offer caution when switching off hundredths or thousandths decimal places so that enough decimals remain for accurate calculation of figures. Furthermore, ensure that each formula displays precise data before conversion because faulty outputs will reflect in the final output of converted values.

Splitting data sets is like breaking up with a spreadsheet – it’s frustrating but necessary for your own sanity.

Splitting Data Sets

If you are facing memory issues while working with Excel, one solution is to split your data sets into smaller groups. This will help reduce the memory consumption and improve the performance of your Excel sheet.

Here’s a 6-Step Guide to Splitting Data Sets:

  1. Identify the columns that contain large chunks of data.
  2. Sort your data set based on those columns.
  3. Select a few rows from each sorted group to create smaller subsets of data.
  4. Create separate tabs in Excel for each subset of data.
  5. Format each tab appropriately and ensure all tabs have a unique identifier or filter column.
  6. You can now link these smaller datasets together using lookup functions or pivot tables.

It is important to note that when splitting data sets, it may be necessary to adjust formulas or references that are linked between them. Carefully check and validate all your calculations before proceeding further.

Another important consideration when splitting datasets is ensuring that you don’t lose any crucial information or analysis in the process. It is always advisable to make backups of your original files before making any changes.

Don’t risk losing important work by neglecting this simple yet effective technique. By splitting up your data sets into smaller groups, you can prevent running out of memory in Excel and improve its overall performance. Give it a try today!

Upgrade your memory capacity, because Excel can’t handle your puny brain power.

Upgrading Memory Capacity

If you encounter memory issues, upgrading your device’s memory capacity can be a viable solution. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Assess your device’s maximum memory capacity.
  2. Purchase appropriate RAM modules based on your device’s specifications.
  3. Shut down your device and unplug it from any power sources.
  4. Open up the device casing and insert the new RAM modules into their respective slots. Refer to your device manual for specifics.
  5. Replace the casing and turn on the device.
  6. Verify that the additional memory is properly installed and recognized by the system.

Increasing memory capacity can prevent future issues with Excel running out of memory.

Pro Tip: Before purchasing new RAM modules, make sure they are compatible with your device to avoid potential complications.

Some Facts About Running Out of Memory in Excel:

  • ✅ Running out of memory in Excel can happen when working with very large files or performing complex calculations. (Source: Microsoft)
  • ✅ Excel has a memory limit of 2GB, which can be a constraint for advanced analysis tasks. (Source: Ablebits)
  • ✅ To prevent running out of memory in Excel, it is recommended to limit the use of volatile functions and use pivot tables or Power Pivot for large datasets. (Source:
  • ✅ Clearing the clipboard and disabling some add-ins can also help free up memory in Excel. (Source: Excel Campus)
  • ✅ Upgrading to a 64-bit version of Excel can provide more memory capacity, but it requires a 64-bit operating system and may cause compatibility issues with some add-ins. (Source: TechSoup)

FAQs about Running Out Of Memory In Excel

What Does “Running Out of Memory in Excel” Mean?

When you see messages like “Excel cannot complete this task with available resources” or “Unable to read file: Not enough memory” it means you’re running out of memory in Excel. This happens when you run too many calculations, open or create too many workbooks or charts, or use large data sets that exceed the limits of your computer’s resources.

How Can I Check My Excel Memory Usage?

To check your Excel memory usage, press the key combination “Ctrl+Shift+Esc” to open the Task Manager. Then click the “Processes” tab and look for Excel.exe in the list. If you don’t see it, click “More Details” and scroll down until you find it. The “Memory (Private Working Set)” column shows you how much memory Excel is using.

How Can I Free Up Memory in Excel?

You can free up memory in Excel by closing unnecessary workbooks, charts, and add-ins that you’re not using. You can also reduce the file size of your workbooks by removing unnecessary data, formatting, and objects, and by compressing images. Another option is to increase your computer’s physical memory, which allows Excel to use more resources.

How Can I Avoid Running Out of Memory in Excel?

You can avoid running out of memory in Excel by following these best practices:

  • Reduce the number of calculations by using manual calculation mode or avoiding circular references;
  • Use 64-bit Excel if your computer and operating system support it, as it can handle larger data sets and use more memory than 32-bit Excel;
  • Avoid copying or pasting entire columns or rows if you don’t need all the data, as this can cause Excel to eat up a lot of memory;
  • Split large data sets into multiple workbooks, and use links or queries to consolidate them if necessary;
  • Use Excel tables instead of range names, as they’re more efficient and consume less memory.

What Are the Memory Limits of Excel?

The memory limits of Excel depend on several factors, such as the version of Excel, the operating system, and the amount of physical memory installed on your computer. In general, 32-bit Excel can use up to 2 GB of memory on a 32-bit operating system, and up to 4 GB of memory on a 64-bit operating system. 64-bit Excel can use much more memory, but it also requires a 64-bit operating system and a computer with a large amount of physical memory (at least 8 GB).

What Should I Do If Excel Keeps Running Out of Memory?

If Excel keeps running out of memory despite following the best practices and freeing up memory, you may need to upgrade your computer’s hardware, such as the CPU, RAM, or hard drive. You may also need to optimize your Excel workbooks by simplifying formulas, splitting data sets, or using external tools like Power Pivot or Power Query. If the issue persists, you can contact Microsoft support or an Excel expert for further assistance.

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