Shrink Your Excel File

Most of the time,  Excel sheets know how many rows and columns you are using and they ignore the other gazillion. When you scroll to the bottom of the scroll bar, it should be at the bottom of your data.

However, many times I've had an Excel sheet that thought it had more rows and columns than it did. This means that it is hard to scroll to the bottom of your data, since Excel thinks the bottom of the sheet is several screens below where it is. Also, this means that when you insert a row or column, Excel takes a long time thinking about how to move a jillion rows or columns to make room. Also, the file size can get way bigger than it should be.

Today all this made my computer (bought in February) lock up for the first time ever. I had been waiting way too long to move rows around and now the computer had to be restarted and I lost some work. I was not pleased.

I have often tried highlighting the extra rows or columns and deleting them, but this did not seem to have an effect. Today I learned the trick.

  • Click Ctrl-End to see where Excel thinks the sheet ends.
  • Highlight the extra rows, right click, and choose Delete.
  • Repeat for the extra columns.
  • Nothing seems to have happened.
  • Now for the trick: save and close the file.
  • Open the file again and hit Ctrl-End. Excel has magically figured out where the end is, and the file is smaller, and it calculates more quickly, and we all do the dance of joy.
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