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Setting the Calculation Default

Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, and 2013. 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: Setting the Calculation Default.

Durward wrote concerning a problem he was having with calculation settings in his Excel. He indicated that according to all he had read, the calculation setting for Excel (Manual or Automatic) defaults to Automatic. Yet somehow, when Durward opens a new workbook, the calculation setting is set to Manual. This happens on his work system as well as his home system. He wonders if there a way to reset the calculation setting back to Automatic.

Testing has shown that the calculation setting is set to Automatic by default. It will only be set to Manual if (1) you have changed the default workbook to one that has the calculation mode set to Manual; (2) if there is some sort of AutoOpen macro that sets the calculation mode; (3) if you have some automatically loading workbooks (XLSX or XLTX, including the Personal workbook) that have calculation set to Manual; or (4) if you start Excel by double-clicking, in Windows, on a workbook that has calculation set to Manual.

Note, especially, conditions 3 and 4. Excel may very well be starting with the calculation mode set to Automatic, but it is overridden by the setting within the file that is first opened. If that workbook has calculation mode set to Manual, then Excel presumes you want Manual as your default calculation mode for that session. The only solution to this problem is to open those workbooks, change the calculation mode in them, save them, and restart Excel.

The other option is to add an AutoOpen macro to any of your workbooks that absolutely must be opened with calculation mode set to Automatic, no matter what. This can be a simple macro, such as the following:

Private Sub Workbook_Open()
    Application.Calculation = xlCalculationAutomatic
End Sub

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (9310) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Setting the Calculation Default.

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Comments for this tip:

JDR    26 Mar 2015, 17:10
I used to call this the "Manual Recalc Virus," because it would infect certain spreadsheets and it was hard to get rid of it once it started. It raised its ugly head again recently.

In this most recent episode, I discovered that my macro sheet, which always loads from XLSTART as a hidden workbook, had inadvertently been set to Manual. I had to unhide it to change it back to Automatic, but once it was resaved, it stopped setting other sheets to Manual.
Mike    18 Nov 2014, 21:23
I regularly open Excel documents by clicking on the file in a File Explorer folder (option 4 above) and randomly find that the workbook is set to manual calculation. I NEVER change the setting to Manual, so still can't understand why this should be changed by Excel.

Reading the above, am I right in understanding that, in the event that I discover one of the workbooks is in manual mode, I need to:
1. change this workbook to Autocalc and then close it,
2. check that any other workbooks open at the time are similarly in Autocalc mode and then close them,
3. Close Excel
4. Open the workbook files

And I then won't have the problem appear again?
Arghya    16 Sep 2014, 00:27
How do I perform UP FILL command in Excel 2010. I know DOWN FILL by Ctrl+D. Please suggest.

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