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    Excel files--how big is too big?

    I have an Excel spreadsheet that's about 13 MB in size and is saved on a network drive. I've been having trouble opening it lately, so I was wondering if there is a maximum file size in Excel that I should not exceed.

    I'm using 32 bit Office 2013 on a 64 bit Server 2008 environment.

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    4 Star Lounger SpywareDr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chris.revere View Post
    I have an Excel spreadsheet that's about 13 MB in size and is saved on a network drive. I've been having trouble opening it lately, so I was wondering if there is a maximum file size in Excel that I should not exceed.

    I'm using 32 bit Office 2013 on a 64 bit Server 2008 environment.
    I've regularly used networked Excel files exceeding 50MB in the past without major problems, so the size itself is not your problem.

    Are there lots of formulas or recalculations going on? Are there external links to other files?

    This may actually be highlighting a problem with your network configuration - we have seen this before! Get your network guys to check that port settings etc are configured properly.

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    Hi Chris

    Your file is big, but well within limits for Excel.
    You don't say whether it is an .xls, xlsx, or .xlsm format.
    My advice is always to save in .xlsb format.
    If your file is not already in this format, load the file and then re-save it as a binary-file format (xxxxxxxx.xlsb)
    This would halve the file size.
    Smaller file sizes are faster to load on networks.
    This is the quickest initial fix.
    Then, there are a whole load of things that can be done to optimise the file and reduce the file size even further.

    zeddy

  5. #5
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    I'm curious about xlsb format, Zeddy. Is anything lost in the Excel file if saved this way? All formulas are OK, conditional formatting, etc., etc.? Why would one NOT want to save all Excel files this way (except for those with macros, I assume)?

    /Kevin

  6. #6
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    Hey Y'all,

    I found this short article on the .xlsb format but far more interesting is the link it contains to a article on "Office 2007 .bin file format.

    @Kevin: You can use the .xlsb format to store files w/VBA/Macro code in them works just fine.

    I know there is supposed to be a space savings in using .xlsb but there must be a cutoff point where it kicks in as you can see below my test file with several sheets and VBA code the size didn't change.
    xlsb.JPG
    HTH
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

    RG

    PowerShell & VBA Rule!

    My Systems: Desktop Specs
    Laptop Specs

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    3 Star Lounger Supershoe's Avatar
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    convert formulas that are no longer needed to values

  8. #8
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    Hi Kevin

    As RG says (and I should have made this clear) you can save macros in .xlsb files.
    This is my default file format of choice.

    One reason you might NOT want to save as a .xlsb file is that it is a very unforgiving file format if something goes wrong with the file i.e. if it gets corrupted you can generally not salvage much from any 'recovery' operation. But, then again, that is another reason why I like it. I wouldn't trust any file that has been 'recovered' - so it forces me to adopt a regular and frequent version control of files as I'm developing.
    If you save in other Excel file formats, you can probably salvage some data from a corrupted file (e.g. if you computer just 'dies' before you last saved etc etc)

    RG: The benefit 'kicks in' from about 200Kb onwards - ie. 200kb .xlsx ~= 100kb .xlsb, and is certainly noticeable above 1Mb file sizes.

    If you have winzip, try renaming an excel xxxx.xlsx file as xxxx.zip, ignore the change-of-file-extension-warning, then you can examine the file with your zip program. This shows that excel files are basically compressed zip files.

    zeddy

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