How To Reduce Excel File Size

Reduce the file size of an Excel document by removing unnecessary data, compressing images and objects, using efficient formulas and functions, minimizing formatting and removing empty cells or unused worksheets.

In today’s digital age, Excel has become an indispensable tool for businesses and individuals alike. Whether it’s keeping track of financial data, creating complex spreadsheets, or analyzing large sets of information, Excel offers unparalleled functionality and flexibility. However, as our reliance on Excel grows, so does the size of our Excel files. Large Excel files can not only take up valuable storage space but also become sluggish and slow to open and work with. In this blog post, we will explore some effective strategies to reduce the size of your Excel files, allowing you to optimize performance and streamline your workflow. So let’s dive in and discover how to efficiently reduce the size of your Excel files!

How To Reduce Excel File Size: Step-by-Step


Step 1: Remove Unnecessary Rows and Columns

To quickly navigate to the last cell with data, select the row number below, press Shift+End+Down Arrow to select all rows at the end. Right-click the row numbers, choose Delete, and repeat the process for columns on the right.

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Step 2: Delete Unused Worksheets

In Excel, locate the worksheet tabs at the bottom and delete unnecessary sheets by right-clicking on them and selecting Delete. This allows you to streamline your Excel file by removing unused or irrelevant worksheets.

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Step 3: Compress any Images

Compress images in an Excel file by right-clicking an image, accessing “Format Picture,” clicking “Compress,” choosing “All Pictures in Document,” applying “Web/Screen” resolution, and compressing for file optimization.

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Step 4: Save Workbook in a Binary Format

To reduce file size in Excel 2007 or later, save the workbook in binary format (.xlsb). Select “File” -> “Save As” -> “Excel Binary Workbook.”

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Step 5: Use Excel’s ‘Optimize’ Feature

This feature in newer Excel versions helps find and remove unnecessary data. Locate it under ‘File’ -> ‘Info’ -> ‘Check for Issues’ -> ‘Inspect Document’.

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Step 6: Minimize Using Pivot Tables

When using Pivot tables, make sure they reference only the necessary data range. Updates to Excel files may alter the range if rows/columns are added, potentially affecting the accuracy of the analysis.

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Step 7: Remove Duplicate Data

Excel’s Remove Duplicates tool, found in the Data tab, helps clean and condense your data set for improved efficiency.

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Step 8: Reduce the File Size by Saving as Excel 97-2003

The Excel 97-2003 format (.xls) is generally smaller than the .xlsx format, primarily when the workbook consists of charts. This is due to the compression techniques employed in the older format.


In conclusion, reducing the size of Excel files can greatly improve performance and make handling large datasets a breeze. By following the tips and tricks mentioned in this blog post, such as removing unnecessary formatting, reducing file size through compression techniques, and using alternative file formats, users can experience faster load times, reduced file storage requirements, and an overall smoother user experience. It is important to regularly monitor and optimize Excel file sizes to ensure optimal performance and efficient data management. So, take control of your Excel files today and enjoy the benefits of a streamlined and optimized spreadsheet environment.

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