Optimize workbook performance in Excel for the web

Microsoft Excel logo on a green background

In Microsoft Excel on the web, click the “View” tab on the ribbon and click “Monitor Performance.” Click the big “Optimize All” button to apply all suggested optimizations to your entire workbook.

When you use Excel on the web, do you find that your workbook takes a long time to load? Microsoft is trying to help you solve this problem with the Performance Monitor. This is how it works.

Check Performance lets you see empty cells in your workbook that contain formatting, whether visible or not. You may have had data in these cells at some point. Although that data is now gone, the formatting is preserved and the workbook grows in size. This can cause a performance slowdown.

Remark: As of September 2022, the feature will be available to Microsoft 365 subscribers using Excel for the web.

Check the performance of an Excel workbook

Go to Excel on the web, sign in, and open the workbook you want to view. You may see a yellow message at the top encouraging you to try the feature by providing a link. But you can also open it manually.

Go to the Monitor tab and select “Monitor Performance” from the ribbon. This opens the Workbook Performance sidebar on the right.

Check Performance in the Excel Review tab

At the top of the sidebar, you can see how many cells are used in the workbook and how many cells you want to optimize.

Cells used and to optimize in Excel for the web

You will then see a list of the sheets with empty cells that can be optimized. Move your cursor over the information icon (lowercase “i”) next to Review by Sheet to see the total.

Total number of sheets to optimize in Excel for the web

You can then select any sheet to view the cells if you wish. You will see which cells can be optimized using the cell reference(s). You’ll also see the type of formatting you want to remove from the cell, including things like number formatting, text properties, and fill color.

List of optimization suggestions for an excel sheet

Click the cell or range of cells in the box to highlight those cells in the sheet if you want to view them.

Cells marked for achievements

Optimize the cells in a workbook

There are a few ways to optimize the sheets and cells you see in the sidebar. Microsoft lets you control how to remove the formatting (if you want).

RELATED: How to clear formatting in Microsoft Excel

Optimize the workbook

If you want to optimize the entire workbook in one fell swoop, this is the simplest option. Open the Workbook Performance sidebar and click “Optimize All” at the bottom.

Optimize All button for a workbook

Optimize the sheet

If you prefer to look at each sheet and optimize them one by one, this is another option. Select a sheet from the list in the Workbook Performance sidebar. Then click “Optimize sheet” at the bottom.

Optimize sheet for a sheet

Change the cells manually

A final option is to manually remove the formatting from the empty cells. Start by selecting a sheet in the Workbook Performance sidebar. Then click the cell reference or cell range in the box to highlight the cell(s) in the sheet.

RELATED: Remove table formatting in Microsoft Excel

Since you can see the formatting that contributes to how the workbook performs, you can then remove that formatting from the cell(s) yourself if you want to.

An easy way to do this, especially if the cell(s) contain different formatting types, is to go to the Home tab and select the three dots on the right side of the ribbon for More options. Move your cursor to Clear in the Edit section and choose “Clear Formatting.”

Clear layouts in the More options menu

Of course, you can use your own method to remove the formatting if you want.

As you optimize the workbook, sheets, or cells and make changes to your workbook, the Workbook Performance tool updates. So you may see a message in the sidebar to check the workbook again. Click “Recheck” to run the performance test after making changes.

Check again after the workbook has been modified

As the file size of your workbook increases over time, Excel may take longer to load. Being able to see what improvements you can make to optimize the workbook is a useful feature to keep in mind.

Look out for this Check Performance feature coming to Excel for Windows and Mac in the future.

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