Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. 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.

Calculating Only the Active Workbook

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated November 17, 2021)

6

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 and later versions 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.

Note:

If you would like to know how to use the macros described on this page (or on any other page on the ExcelTips sites), I've prepared a special page that includes helpful information. Click here to open that special page in a new browser tab.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (6752) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Calculating Only the Active Workbook.

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 3 - 3?

2021-11-17 13:05:05

Dave Bonin

I had a slightly similar situation where I had one worksheet with a lot of data and many other large, complex worksheets (reports) that fed off the first worksheet. The "report" worksheets were computationally complex, which made the workbook very slow to recalculate.

The approach I took used Worksheet Activate and Deactivate events.

Since I didn't care what the non-active "report" worksheets looked like (I couldn't see them because they were not active), and because none of them depended on each other, I could disable the formulas on the non-active worksheets.

Essentially, I wrote a Worksheet Deactivate macro which replaced every instance of "=" with "[=]". That changed every formula into a text string as I left the sheet. (And text never gets recalculated because it's not a formula.)

I similarly wrote a Worksheet Activate macro which replaced every instance of "[=]" with "=". (For robustness, I did that find and replace several times in the activate macro in case things had gotten out of sync. )

The net result was that every non-active "report" worksheet had no no formulas -- just text strings that could easily be turned back into formulas when the sheet was activated. This changed my workbook recalculation time from several minutes down to just several seconds.

If you can write macros, you can implement this pretty easily.


2020-12-02 17:02:35

J

Did previous versions of Excel always calculate every Open Workbook OR is this just a feature of newer versions of Excel? I feel like with 2010 I never ran into this problem as frequently as I do now.


2018-05-09 22:33:37

Col Delane

The Sub CalcBook() isn't guaranteed to generate the desired outcome (i.e. a fully calculated workbook). "Sheet1" might contain formulas pointing to cells in "Sheet2", but other cells in "Sheet2" might have dependencies back on "Sheet1" or elsewhere. So, calculating each Worksheet once might not be enough to perform a full calculation on your Workbook, as Excel doesn't look at the whole calculation tree for the workbook and recalculate all precedents from the top down when just doing one worksheet.


2016-04-26 12:38:52

Willy Vanhaelen

@Anthony Ogilvie
A shorter way to launch another instance of Excel:
simply click on the Excel icon on the taskbar while holding down the Shift key.


2016-04-25 08:36:07

Anthony Ogilvie

Another method that I use is to start another of instance. This is done by right clicking the Excel icon on the task bar then click on the Excel application icon whilst holding down the Alt key, do not release until Excel asks if you want to start another instance, click yes. This will then set up another group of workbooks and will only recalculate that group.


2016-04-23 11:42:48

David George

I wonder whether this could be the solution to a problem I regularly run into: I'm running Win 7 Pro 64 bit on a 3.2 GHZ i7 960 system with 24 GB RAM and an SSD boot drive (it's a pretty fast system). I often have a workbook open, which has several tabs loaded with formulas. Sometimes when I try to open another workbook I get a Windows error message saying I don't have enough memory to open the workbook, which on paper seems ludicrous.


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