Why is Excell 2013 so slow and why is it crashing so often on my PC?

Alice October 8, 2014
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I upgraded from Office 2010 to 2013 a couple of months back, and I find Excel 2013 the most frustrating piece of software I have every worked with. I have a spreadsheet just under 6 MB that used to work flawlessly in 2010. Now it constantly freezes, takes forever when I copy something into a cell (and this could be as simple as a name or email address — I won’t even try to go into copying a row that has formulae or trying to add/delete a row above/below it), takes forever to save (or it doesn’t and crashes). There’s not a day that goes by where I receive the message that Excel is not responding, shuts down, and tries to repair something. I share it with a few co-workers weekly and now they too are experiencing the same slowness, crashing, etc.

Any thoughts on what could be causing this? I have read somewhere that antivirus software may be an issue, but why now with 2013 and not with 2010? I use Avira and I’m surely not going to turn it off for Excel 2013. Yesterday I read something about COM Addin’s causing this — so I removed the only one that was there. This didn’t make any difference. Any help would be appreciated. I’m at my wits end and am wondering if there is an alternative to Excel out there somewhere. I would upload it to Google but uploading deletes all the formula. Thanks for listening.

  1. Jan F.
    October 8, 2014 at 1:31 pm

    Most important question, does that happen with a new sheet/file too? Create a new one, add a couple of random formulas and data.

    If the file resides on a server try using a local copy to see if the network factor has an impact. Changes in Offices Trust Center could be causing these issues then.

    Have you tried copying the contents into a new spreadsheet (unformatted)?
    I have a small Excel sheet where I keep track of numbers from a website and unless I clear them from their formatting (via a plain text editor) it will cripple Excel down to not responding for half a minute every time I click something.

    I understand that given the size of your sheet this is probably a painful solution but you could at least try it with a partial data set to see if that has any impact – or the other way round, copy portions of your data with their formatting into a new one and see which portion of your sheet creates those performance issues.

    • Alice
      October 11, 2014 at 10:28 am

      Thanks so much for your reply. I totally agree with you. I created a brand new spreadsheet with about half the information from the original spreadsheet and it worked great. This is an ongoing metrics report that I started ~ four years ago, so it does not resolve keeping everything together right now. I'm hoping in 2015 to start a new and never experience these issues again. You have been great!

    • Jan F.
      October 11, 2014 at 3:18 pm

      Well, for the time being there are a couple more things you can try:

      For example Excel can get confused about the actual range of your worksheets.
      Press CTRL + END and see where the selection ends up.
      Best case scenario it will be right underneath the the bottom-most right-most used cell. However, sometimes it will be way off of that with a lot of empty space to your actual data.
      Select all the empty cells, then right-click and select Delete (this is different from pressing the DEL key!). Save your file and test again.
      Do this for all the worksheets of your workbook to clear unnecessary "empty cell" bloat.

      I already mentioned that formatting can get funky. And with more and more formatting it can get more and more problematic. If you were conservative with formatting clearing and resetting it shouldn't take too long and might help.
      * Definitely create a backup of the entire workbook beforehand.
      For example if you have a header row with a certain formatting select the entire row, then on the Home tab in the editing group click Clear > Clear Formats. Then reset the format.
      Actually, a good place to start might be the non-formatted cells! Probably most of your data entries are in the standard format. Select all of it and clear the formats to make sure it isn't "made to look like standard format" ~ this will also clear data formatting (e.g. Time, Date) so this is something one has to keep in mind.

      Finally I would clear the Formula error checking.
      On the Formula tab there is a Formula auditing group. Click on Error Checking > Reset Ignored errors. In general, messy formulas and a lot of nested formulas create performance hits. Now, if there is some error in one of the initial formula it will be carried through all the nested ones too creating a lot of background work for Excel.

  2. Ben S
    October 8, 2014 at 12:48 pm

    Unfortunately I don't have a solid solution for you, but I can tell you I've been experiencing the same issues.

    I updated to Office 13 from 10 when my university made it available and it's been a lot of problems, especially with Excel. I also had it crash whenever I tried to paste anything, even when it was just a snippet of text from the Web. It feels extremely bloated and half the time saving it causes a crash.

    It's frustrating. I thought maybe it was a Windows 7 issue, but you're on 8 so that disproves that theory. I'm sorry this is happening to you, too. It's really annoying.

    • Alice
      October 11, 2014 at 10:15 am

      Thanks for standing behind me!

  3. ha14
    October 8, 2014 at 11:43 am
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