Not Enough System Resources

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated May 4, 2019)

1

When Malan wants to print a worksheet, Excel says it "does not have enough system resources" and then freezes. His workbook is only about 17 MB, so he is wondering what could be causing the problem.

These types of errors can be a bother to figure out and, unfortunately, the error messaging provided by Microsoft isn't all that helpful (as Malan has discovered). When I have strange and vague errors like this, the first thing I do is to try to figure out if the problem is with my system or with the workbook.

Figuring out if it is a system problem is easy—just save the workbook on a flash drive and open it on someone else's system. (Hopefully this other system is using the same version of Excel as you.) If the workbook opens and prints just fine, then you know it is something on your system causing the problem. The first culprit I would then check is your printer driver, making sure it is up-to-date.

To figure out if it is a workbook problem, try opening and printing other workbooks on your system. If others print just fine, then it is a problem with the workbook itself. This sort of problem can range from a workbook complexity issue all the way to a corruption issue.

Complexity issues have little to do with the actual size of the workbook. Instead, it has to do with the formulas and functions used, the presence of embedded objects, and the use of features such as iterative calculations. The easiest way to figure out if it is a complexity issue is to copy individual worksheets to separate workbooks. If they print once copied to the new workbook, then you have a good indication that complexity is at play. The only long-term solution is to simplify the workbook in some way. (How you do this is going to be closely tied to the specifics of what your workbook contains and how it is put together.)

If it is a corrupted workbook (or one that is bordering on complete corruption), there are a number of things you can do to preventively save or salvage your data. Microsoft has prepared some information on the topic here:

https://support.office.com/en-gb/article/repairing-a-corrupted-workbook-7abfc44d-e9bf-4896-8899-bd10ef4d61ab

Microsoft has also prepared a page on their support site that may offer additional insights into why you might see a resource-related error:

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/2779852

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2612) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 365.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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What is six more than 1?

2019-05-04 13:59:35

Henry Noble

In addition to the above suggestions, I would add:
1. Shut down and restart your PC to get a clean base, then open Excel and try printing the problem worksheet.
2. If it is an xlsm workbook, disable all macros when opening, and then try printing.

If the problem appears to be with the system, it may be worthwhile to start the Task Manager and then examine what other processes are running and gobbling resources.


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