So many users face lags and crashes while opening large Excel files. But files normally get larger when the data and information grow in size within the notebook. Although larger files tend to crash most while opening, there are more underlying issues for crashes than just the file size. In this article, we will focus on eliminating these issues so that we can open large Excel files without crashing.
How to Open Large Excel Files Without Crashing: 10 Effective Ways
As mentioned earlier, there are more problems deep within the Excel file or Microsoft Excel in general. Eliminating these issues can help us to open large Excel files without crashing. These issues range from excessive formatting to hardware issues like not enough RAM available in the system to handle such files. Although we can’t focus on hardware issues for the short term, we can try out these ten diverse solutions that can possibly enable Excel to open large files without crashing. Try all of the first seven methods separately and in unison, and if you still have problems, move on to the later sections. Keep in mind, that while we are talking about actions within Excel options, do them while opening another Excel file.
1. Removing Excel Add-ins
COM Add-ins are supplementary programs for Microsoft Excel that expand the capabilities of the program and help us enhance our experience with Excel. Then again, these COM add-ins we add to our programs also slow Excel down by a bit. If you have a lot added to your program, it may cause some serious lags even while running simple processes, especially if your system is on the lower spectrum of specifications. Also, these third-party add-ins cause issues when we start Excel and fight over for memory, which can cause the large file to crash while opening. If you have add-ins and facing issues while opening large Excel files, follow these steps to remove them.
- First, go to the File tab on your ribbon.
- Then select Options from the left side of the backstage view.
- As a result, the Excel Options box will open up. On the left of this box, select the Add-ins tab.
- Then besides manage click on the Manage drop-down and select COM Add-ins.
- After that, click on Go.
- Consequently, the COM Add-ins box will open up. Next, in the Add-ins available section, uncheck all the add-ins.
- Finally, click on OK.
As a result, all of the add-ins will be removed, and hopefully, opening Excel files will now be smoother for you. Now you can open large Excel files without crashing if add-ins were the culprits causing the crash.
Read More: How to Make Excel Open Faster
2. Uncheck Disable Hardware Graphics Acceleration Option
Another feature that can cause Microsoft Excel to lag, freeze, or crash while opening is the Excel animations. Generally, Excel animations are usually turned on automatically on all devices unless you change it to otherwise. Like any other feature, this also improves our user experience in Excel. But if your system is too weak to handle animations with all the data in a large Excel file, it is better to turn off the animations. Follow these steps to turn off animations.
- First of all, go to the File tab in your ribbon.
- Then, select Options from the left of the backstage view.
- After that, go to the Advanced tab from the right of the Excel Options window.
- From the right side, uncheck the Disable hardware graphics acceleration box under the Display section.
- Finally, click on OK.
After restarting Excel, your Excel animations will turn off from this point. Now you should flexibly open large Excel files without crashing if it were caused by memory issues from Excel animations.
3. Exploring File Details and Contents
Opening large Excel files may sometimes crash because, in a larger file, the chances are higher for bugs to interrupt the programs. Below are the options that have been reported to cause bugs which in turn freeze and crash Excel sometimes. Although the Microsoft team is working on the problems to fix these problems, this may still cause issues in your programs especially if it is not updated. Excel freezing and crashing may be caused by:
- A high number of hidden or zero height or width objects
- An uneven number of elements in arguments in formula references
- Formulas with entire column or row references
Explore these issues in your file and restart Excel to see if you can now open large files without crashing or not. If the problem persists, it may be caused by some other issues.
4. Clean Excess Cell Formatting
Excel has to load up every formatting every time you open up a workbook. When your file has too many formats, it not only makes your file size very large but also makes the loading time longer, sometimes freezes, or even crashes. You can clear excess formatting manually, or you can follow these steps.
- First, go to the File tab on your ribbon.
- Then select Options from the left of the backstage view.
- At this instant, the Excel Options box will open up. Next, select the Add-ins tab from the left of this box.
- On the right of it, select COM Add-ins from the Manage drop-down and click on Go.
- Now, in the COM Add-ins box, check the Inquire option under the Add-ins available section.
- Then click on OK.
- Now you can find the Inquire tab on your ribbon. Go to the tab and select Clean Excel Cell Formatting under the Miscellaneous group.
- After that, select whether you want to clean excess cell formatting from the drop-down option beside Apply to in the Clean Excel Cell Formatting box.
- Finally, click on OK.
5. Removing Unused Cell Formats
Similar to formatting, cell styles also have to load up every time you open an Excel file. That makes loading time longer, freezes while loading, or even crashes. It is very common to face “Too many different cell formats” when you have too many styles in the Excel workbook. Therefore, you should try to avoid using different types of styles on one worksheet. It is a good idea to remove or not use any unnecessary styles that not only lower the possibility of crashes but also make Excel operations faster.
Read More: How to Make Excel Faster on Windows 10
6. Remove Unnecessary Conditional Formatting
Conditional formatting takes up even more memory than normal formatting. So, when you don’t need any conditional formatting, better to remove it from the workbook. For a larger file with a large dataset, it is recommended to not use conditional formatting at all. Try removing conditional formatting in a large file, and it should fix crashing problems while opening large Excel files in most cases. Follow these steps to remove conditional formatting so that you can open large Excel files without crashing.
- First of all, go to the Home tab on your ribbon.
- Then select Conditional Formatting from the Styles group.
- Next, select Clear Rules from the drop-down menu.
- Then select Clear Rules from Entire Sheet.
As a result, all of the conditional formatting in the sheet will be removed. Hopefully, you will be able to open large Excel files without crashing now.
7. Clear Unwanted Calculations and Formulas
As said earlier, Excel cells’ values and formatting are the ones that take up memory and can cause crashes while opening large files. As these large files often take up more memory than your system can provide. So in larger files, it is often a good idea to change some formulas that may not change in later operations. Moreover, some functions or formulas containing the functions that take up more resources than others include SUMIF, COUNTIF, SUMPRODUCT, formulas with entire column or row references, volatile functions, array formulas, etc. Try to eliminate these formulas in a large file as much as possible.
To remove a formula after calculations and keep the values, right-click on the cell consisting of the formula and select the Values option under the Paste Options.
8. Run Excel in Safe Mode
If you did all of the steps before and you still face crashes while opening large Excel files, there may be other problems that can cause this issue too. Certain programs automatically start up when you open an Excel file. These startups can take up the high memory that Excel needs to open up large files. Meanwhile, Excel safe mode helps you to skip these startup programs and go straight to opening the file. So try out starting Excel in safe mode when you open large Excel files without crashing. Follow these steps to open Excel in safe mode.
- To begin with, press the Win+R key on your keyboard.
- As a result, the Run command dialog will open up.
- Now, write down Excel /safe in the dialog box.
- Then click on OK.
As a result, Excel will now open up in safe mode. In some cases, this will help to open large Excel files without crashing.
9. Check for Conflicting Programs
A very common issue that can cause memory problems is the programs running in the background. In any operating system, especially in Windows, there are a lot of programs opening up automatically at the start and continue to run in the background throughout any actions. Like any other processes, these programs can conflict with Excel and fight for memories, causing large files to crash instead of opening.
Follow these steps to stop running these programs in the background and automatically start up at the start of Windows.
- To begin with, press Win+R on your keyboard to open up the Run dialog box.
- Next, write down msconfig in the dialog box and press Enter.
- As a result, the Arrangement Configuration Dialog box will open. In this box, go to the Services tab and check the Hide all Microsoft services
- Then click on Disable all first, and then Apply.
- Then go to the Startup tab in the same box and click on Open Task Manager.
- Now, the Task Manager will open up. In it, go to the Startup tab and select the programs that open up at the start.
- Then click on Disable.
- Repeat this for all the applications and you will have memory available only for Microsoft applications.
Now you should be able to open large Excel files without crashing if these conflicting programs were causing the crash.
10. Check and Install Latest Updates
Microsoft’s support team is working continuously to solve bugs and issues, and always trying to improve its programs like Microsoft Excel to increase its capabilities. So little bugs and irregularities often get eliminated by new updates. Hence, if your crash is caused by one, check and install Microsoft Office updates on your device. This should definitely help to open large Excel files without crashing.
These are the ways you can follow to open large Excel files without crashing in your system with limited memory. And if your large files still crash while opening after this, there may be issues with your RAM not having enough memory to operate, unfortunately. In that case, try running the file with a more powerful machine. But you should be able to open large Excel files without crashing your system hopefully if you have followed the steps.
I hope you found this guide helpful and informative. If you have any questions or suggestions, let us know in the comments below.