Top 10 Practical Tips To Speed Up Excel Formulas

Are you tired of waiting for your Excel formulas to calculate? Do you find yourself staring at your screen, wishing you could speed up the process? Look no further! I have compiled a list of 10 practical tips to help you speed up your Excel formulas and get your work done faster.

From avoiding volatile functions to using named ranges, this list covers a variety of techniques that can help you optimize your Excel calculations. I will provide you with a detailed explanation for each item in the list, so you can easily understand and apply these tips to your own work. 

Say goodbye to slow calculations and hello to increased productivity. Let’s get going!

Optimizing Your Excel Formulas

Picture this – you hit calculate in Excel, only to sit there waiting another 5 minutes before you can actually see the results… 

When you’re working with large amounts of data, it’s essential to have speedy and efficient formulas in Excel. Slow formulas can cause frustration and waste valuable time.

Here are five tips to help you optimize your Excel formulas:

1. Use The Most Efficient Formulas

Excel offers several formulas to perform the same task. However, some formulas are more efficient than others.

For example, the INDEX-MATCH combination is faster than VLOOKUP. This is especially true when working with large data sets. So, always choose the most efficient formula for your task.

2. Minimize The Number Of References

Excel formulas that reference many cells can slow down your calculations. So, try to minimize the number of references in your formulas. For example, instead of referencing individual cells, use ranges.

Try not to do this…

Cell references example

3. Use Named Ranges

Named ranges are a great way to make your formulas more readable and efficient. Instead of referencing cells directly, you can use named ranges to reference specific cells or ranges. Named ranges also make it easier to update your formulas when your data changes.

Don’t overkill it though, auditing a spreadsheet with hundreds of named ranges will become a nightmare!

Name Manager example

4. Turn Off Automatic Calculation

Excel recalculates your formulas every time you make a change. This can slow down your calculations, especially if you’re working with large data sets. 

So, turn off automatic calculation and only recalculate your formulas when you need to. The keyboard shortcut to recalculate is F9.

Automatic Calculations

5. Use the IFERROR Function

Excel’s IFERROR function is a handy tool that can help you avoid errors in your formulas.

Instead of writing a formula like =IF(ISERROR(),…,…), the IFERROR function allows you to specify what happens if a formula returns an error. This can save you time and effort when debugging your formulas.

6. Avoid Volatile Functions

Volatile functions, such as NOW() and RAND(), recalculate every time a change is made to the spreadsheet, which can slow down your calculations. Avoid using volatile functions when possible, or use them sparingly.

Structuring Your Spreadsheet

When it comes to speeding up your Excel formulas, the structure of your spreadsheet can make a big difference. Think of reading a spreadsheet like a book – left to right and top down.

In this section, we’ll cover some tips for structuring your spreadsheet to optimize your calculations and save you time.

7. Sort Your Data

Sorting your data can help you find information quickly and make calculations more efficient. To sort your data, select the column you want to sort by and click “Sort A to Z” or “Sort Z to A” in the “Data” tab. 

You can also sort by multiple columns by selecting the columns and clicking “Sort” in the “Data” tab.

8. Use Tables

Using tables can help you organize your data and make calculations more efficient. 

To create a table, select your data and click “Format as Table” in the “Home” tab. The shortcut is CTRL+T. You can then use the table tools to sort, filter, and analyze your data.

You can also try using the FILTER function if you don’t need a full table summary.

9. Avoid Using External Links

Cell references to external files can slow down a calculation as it tries to access the data. 

Additionally, they create dependencies on other files, which can make the model more difficult to maintain and update.  If the external file is moved or deleted, your spreadsheet may break and produce errors.

10. Keep Your Spreadsheet Clean

Keeping your spreadsheet clean can help you avoid errors and make calculations more efficient. 

Delete any unnecessary data or calculations, and use consistent formatting throughout your spreadsheet. You can also use conditional formatting to highlight important information and make your spreadsheet easier to read.

As always, thanks for reading and I hope you found this helpful!

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