How to reduce Excel file size

Excel worksheet files can be too large sometimes. Such files need a lot of patience when dealing with them as they take a lot of time to update when you make changes. They also respond slow when opening, which in short makes them time waters especially when you have limited time to handle the document. To make matters worse, sharing the file by Email can be difficult. So, reducing the file's size at times is the most realistic approach to take. There are different ways of lowering your Excel file size.

We will discuss reducing file size by removing some formatting, the best saving format, and compressing images. Please read this article to learn about some of the best options and methods to select.

Method 1: remove conditional formatting

We use conditional formatting when we need to highlight specific data by visualization for easy understanding. It is advisable to remove this feature when done using it by clearing rules from the entire worksheet. Here are the steps to follow;

1. In your open worksheet file, go to the Home tab at the top of the main menu ribbon.

2. Go to the Styles group and click on Conditional Formatting.

3. From the drop-down menu, select the Clear Rules option.

4. Click on Clear Rules from Entire Sheet.

Method 2: save as a Binary File

Instead of using the default format to save your file, you can reduce your file size by saving it in binary format. This format saves files to a smaller size.

1. In your open worksheet, you need to reduce the size and go to the File tab.

2. Click on Save As option.

3. Please type in the file name, and when it comes to the Save as type option, click on the drop-down arrow and select Excel Binary Workbook.


4. Click Save to save the file on your computer.

Method 3: removing formatting from empty Cells

1. In your open workbook, go to the Home tab.

2. Under the Editing group, click on Find & Select.

3. From the given options, select go To Special.

4. In the dialog box displayed, click the Specials tab and select the Blanks button.

5. Click OK to highlight all empty cells in your worksheet.

6. In the Editing group, click Clear and select Clear All.

Method 4: compressing images and pictures

1. Select the image you want to compress.

2. Go to the Picture Tools Format tab that will appear once you click on the picture.

3. Under the Adjust group, click on the Compress Picture option.

4. From the dialog box that appears, deselect 'Apply only to this picture and select 'Delete cropped areas of pictures.'

3. Next, select Email (96 PPI) for maximum compression.

4. Click OK.

5. save the file, and all images will be compressed.

Method 5: crop each worksheet to its used range

1. Select all the unused rows and columns

2. Right-click on them and select Delete.

Method 6: remove unnecessary formulas

Any avid excel user knows that we use formulas to manipulate and combine data dynamically. At times we forget to replace them with values which is a more reasonable option when reducing file size.

1. Open the large excel file and go to the Home tab.

2. Under the Editing group, click on Find & Select drop-down arrow.

3. From the options given, select go to Special.

4. Check the 'Formulas' box, which is unchecked from the displayed dialog box by default.

5. Click OK.

6. After this, copy all the formula cells by pressing Ctrl + C.

7. To paste them as values go to the Home tab>> Clipboard>> Paste Values >> 123.

Method 7: Delete watches

1. In your open worksheet, click on the Formulas tab on the main menu ribbon.

2. Click on Watch Window.

3. Select all and click Delete.

Method 8: eliminate hidden sheets, rows, and columns

4. In an open worksheet, select all the empty rows and columns. Press on Ctrl+ Shift + downward arrow + right key arrow.

5. Go to the Home tab. Under the Editing Group, click on Clear.

6. Select Clear All.


There are many more ways to reduce the file size than the ones mentioned above. You can apply any or more than one of these methods when it comes to lowering your large-size file.