Excel 2016 Performance

What’s your view on Excel 2016 performance and stability?

In particular Excel 2016 32bit on Win10 63 bit?

I’m talking about 365, so bang up to date, and what I am seeing is:

  • Excel or other Office apps freeze for around 4 minutes, once or twice most days
  • Too many styles will cause a workbook that would have dropped all formatting in 2010 will be unopenable and unrecoverable in 2016
  • Too many conditional format will crash 2016 completely, where 2010 would be bearable, but stable.
  • General calc speed seems slower
  • UI is laggy, even with all Win10 bullshit turned off
  • Excel VBA can completely freeze every running office application
  • Opening everything in the same Excel instance is a monumental ball ache
    • Opening everything in its own one is not much better
    • Why can’t we have the 2003 behaviour of opening in last activate instance??
    • debuggering from VS is pants, I don’t want all my dodgy xlls loading into my working Excel.  So back to run excel /e
  • Did YOU ask for cell selection change to be animated????????????
  • Can’t paste charts as live links any more?

So the intermittent freezes and the instability are my main issues, I’m back to saving my work every 2 to 3 minutes like in Excel 2000. And spending a fair chunk of my life waiting for stuff to calculate.

Overall I’m thoroughly underwhelmed, 2003 is still the best ever, but 2010 is starting to feel like a not too shabby vintage too (I never tried 2013, was it any good?). I reckon 2003 would utterly fly on my 16gb i7, well apart from the single threadedness.

(the 63 bit was a typo, but somehow seems appropriate as the odd bit seems to get dropped here and there on this combo.) Sadly I see Office gradually choking Excel, or as its new name Word(tables edition).

What are your experiences?

Which is your favourite Excel?

Is 64 bit more stable?



lets discuss it at DevelopExcel in October!

13 Responses to “Excel 2016 Performance”

  1. kalx Says:

    I was unable to open any of the links in your e-mail. Not sure what WordPress is thinking about how this monetizes their service. My site for Excel add-in related things is https://xllblog.com/.

  2. Keith Lewis Says:

    Nobody at Microsoft cares about us dinosaurs. Chuck is grasping at straws. Every new release of Excel is a painful exercise in keeping my library up-to-date. https://github.com/keithalewis/xll12 is the latest incarnation. I’ve been following your blog since way back. Mine is https://xllblog.com/

  3. Keith Lewis Says:

    Ah. No surprise. E-mail replies have to go through WordSuppress now.

  4. teylyn Says:

    I’ve just spent three days fixing legacy VBA code that ran (kind of) fine in XL 2010 on Win 7, but crashes with alarming regularity when run in XL 2016 (365) on Win 10. There are many moving parts to this, but the main gist of my fixes were about sprinkling DoEvents liberally around the code so, things could catch up before starting the next round of the loop, giving up on UserInterfaceOnly for protected sheets, because many simple copy/paste operations still failed, so I just resorted to unprotect/write stuff/re-protect, running queries NOT in the background, and absolutely never – EVER- select ANYthing in VBA, especially not Worksheets.
    In general, I feel that XL 2016 (365) takes longer do start up, takes longer to open workbooks, takes longer to do ANYthing really. But once it has sorted out its territory, it’s usually not too bad.

    My personal computer runs 64 bit Office and I find the performance a lot more balanced compared to 32 bit. I definitely like that I can use larger data sets without upsetting the apple cart.

    Most of my client scenarios are 32 bit setups, but since I am bound to their hardware/software configurations because of on-prem data connections, I cannot compare how they would perform with 64 bit.

    Whenever they are moving large amounts of data, I would be all for using 64 bit, but some legacy add-ins tie them to 32 bit. I wish the 3rd party add-in providers would pull out their thumbs and write a modern version of their add-ins that does not throttle their customers to half the pipe they could use.

  5. Simon Says:

    yep, stuff you can get away with in 2010 kills 2016

  6. Dalkeith Says:

    I’m still on office 2003 – only use it really at home and I don’t wrangle loads of data – I have a prized installation disk:)

  7. Simon Says:

    Message from Charlie, who wordpress wont let on!

    Interesting time for your questions – I have used 2016 over the last couple of years (not full time) and have not had any problems until recently – just this last week, while working on an application that I built for a client a while ago that is not too complex, Excel would just hang for no apparent reason, but if I waited long enough (many many minutes) it would eventually come back. Painful to do development with since it did this repeatedly. Many of my clients do use 2016 and I have not heard of any issues from them, so I was thinking this problem was specific to me.

    I do have one client that has huge vba application that I built for him. It
    started in 2003, migrated to 2010 at some point and recently he needed to pull data from a database so I figured it was time to migrate to 2016 and to use PQ to do that pulling. He almost fired me. 2016 was so slow (slowed to a crawl and apparent hang) to do the same things that runs fine on 2010 – with no apparent reason for the delays. Now this application is all vba and very little Excel, but still – weird. He went back to 2010 so I never had the opportunity to track down what was causing the performance issues.

    I do recall, with this client in particular, since performance is critical
    and it is all vba, that even when migrating from 2003 to 2010 there was a
    big performance hit – which I coded around by doing bigger reads/writes.
    2010 has been stable for a long time, and it is now my main development platform (both for comfort/productivity reasons and backward compatibility reasons). 2003 was my favourite, but I do like tables so 2010 is now the platform of choice.

    Each new version is less productive for power users.


  8. Simon Says:

    I have to say I think Win10 is implicated in any slowness related to getting data or other network stuff. But E2016 is slow and unstable, worse than E2000.

  9. Hugh Watkins Says:

    I am working with Office 365 and a brand new desktop. Excel can hang for no apparent reason and files that I open are sometimes invisible.

    I’ve also noticed that having Skype activated is a problem for Excel…shut down Skype and Excel runs a bit better.

    I should point out that all this is with very modestly sized spreadsheets most of which didn’t have any VBA modules.

  10. maverickactuary Says:

    I’ve been umming and ahhing about going from xl2010 to xl2016 for maybe a year now, so this post is both useful and scary.

    Do you feel the same way about xl2013? (just going to look for older posts…)

    See you at the October conference.

  11. jeffrey Weir Says:

    I would say the exact opposite to Charles re the comment “Each new version is less productive for power users.” I’ll take Excel 2016 with the DataModel and PowerQuery any day over previous versions. Thanks to these incredible advances I write a heck of a lot less VBA, and am generally much more productive. That said, I do have one file that corrupts from time to time without explanation, and so I always have backups that I invariably have to restore after the next time the file corrupts. Think it’s PowerPivot related, but haven’t found the time to rebuild the file from scratch. And protecting/unprotecting is now pretty much impossible, as per my comment way back at http://dailydoseofexcel.com/archives/2015/04/07/excel-2013-vba-unreasonably-slow/#comment-755995

  12. Simon Says:

    Mav – I never used 2013 so no idea, but 2016 is staggeringly bad. I really don’t think they tested it with real world spreadsheet use.

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