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Calculating Only the Active Workbook

Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007 and 2010. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: Calculating Only the Active Workbook.

Linda asked if there is a way to calculate only the active workbook. When a recalc is performed by Excel, it recalculates all her open workbooks, and if they are very large workbooks it can sometimes take over fifteen minutes to recalc. If she is able to limit what is recalculated, then the process will obviously run faster.

Unfortunately, there is no direct method to just calculate a particular workbook. You can, however, calculate just the active worksheet, if desired. First, set the recalculation mode to manual by following these steps:

  1. Display the Excel Options dialog box. (In Excel 2007 click the Office button and then click Excel Options. In Excel 2010 display the File tab of the ribbon and then click Options.)
  2. Click the Formulas area at the left of the dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Formulas options of the Excel Options dialog box.

  4. In the Calculation Options section of the dialog box, make sure the Manual radio button is selected.
  5. Click on OK.

Now the only time your workbook (actually, all your open workbooks) will be recalculated is when you press F9. If you want to recalculate only the current worksheet, then press Shift+F9.

Excel also provides macro functions that allow you to do any of these three things: calculate all open workbooks, calculate a specific worksheet in a workbook, or calculate a specified range of cells on a worksheet. With this knowledge you could create a macro that would loop through all the worksheets in a workbook and recalculate each of them.

The following macro sets the calculation mode to manual (so the other workbooks will not calculate) and then loops through and calculates each sheet of the active workbook.

Sub CalcBook()
    Dim wks As Worksheet
    Application.Calculation = xlManual
    For Each wks In ActiveWorkbook.Worksheets
        wks.Calculate
    Next
    Set wks = Nothing
End Sub

If you believe that you may want to calculate different parts of your workbook at different times, you can expand the macro so that it will perform any type of calculation you may want:

Sub CalcWhat()
    Dim iAnsure As Integer

    Application.Calculation = xlManual
    iAnsure = InputBox("1 = Calculate A Used Range" _
      & vbCrLf & _
      "2 = Calculate This Worksheet" _
      & vbCrLf & _
      "3 = Calculate This Workbook" _
      & vbCrLf & _
      "4 = Calculate All Workbooks in Memory" _
      & vbCrLf & vbCrLf & _
      "Input Your Selection Number From Above" _
      & vbCrLf & "Then Click OK", _
      "Calculate What?", "Input Number Please", _
      5000, 5000)

    Select Case iAnsure
        Case 1 'Range Only
            Selection.Calculate
        Case 2 'Worksheet Only
            ActiveSheet.Calculate
        Case 3 'Workbook Only
            For Each wks In ActiveWorkbook.Worksheets
                wks.Calculate
            Next
        Case 4 'All Open Workbooks
            Application.CalculateFull
        End
    End Select
End Sub

This macro presents an input box that prompts the user as to which type of recalculation is desired. When the user enters a number from 1 to 4, the desired type of recalculation is performed.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (6752) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007 and 2010. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Calculating Only the Active Workbook.

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Comments for this tip:

Chuck Trese    02 Jul 2014, 09:14
I also had a similar problem where a macro in file1 is slowed down because for every step it took (every time it wrote anything into a cell), file2 recalculated hundreds of thousands of very complex formulas. With today's computers, each such recalculation takes less then one second, but since the macro in file1 has hundreds of steps, it becomes very annoying - especially if I'm running the macro in file1 in front of an audience.

Here is the solution I use. Put this code in the worksheet that is doing all the unnecessary calculation:

Private Sub Worksheet_Activate()
    Me.EnableCalculation = True
End Sub

Private Sub Worksheet_Deactivate()
    Me.EnableCalculation = False
End Sub

This automatically turns off calculation for that sheet whenever you are not using it, but automatically turns it back on whenever you are using it.

If you would rather turn off calculation for the whole workbook, then put this in the "ThisWorkbook" code module of the file that is doing all the unnecessary recalculation:

Private Sub Workbook_Activate()
    For Each ws In ThisWorkbook.Worksheets
        ws.EnableCalculation = True
    Next ws
End Sub

Private Sub Workbook_Deactivate()
    For Each ws In ThisWorkbook.Worksheets
        ws.EnableCalculation = False
    Next ws
End Sub


If this method fits your scenario (a small number of troublesome files that you can add macros to), then I highly recommend it. The beauty of this method is that you never have to think about it! Once you implement this, it is fully automatic from then on. No extra steps are necessary, no manual calculations, and you will never accidentally leave calculation turned off.
Duncan Philps-Tate    16 Jul 2012, 05:00
Good tip.

But it leaves me wondering what Linda is doing with so many workbooks or such complicated structures that it takes 15 minutes to recalculate! I can remember that in the days of 386 chips when hard disks were measured in megabytes and not terabytes - but these days?

Maybe there's also a message about structure and inter-connection lurking there...
John    15 Jul 2012, 18:16
Great tip again Allen, I was working on a large WB with too many sumproduct formulas and needed exactly the calcwhat routine!

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