How many rows and columns does Excel have?
All the talk about 64-bit versions of Office has raised the issue of maximum rows and columns in Excel. A few readers seem to believe that 64-bit Excel will have more rows or columns than the 32-bit version. While that might be theoretically possible, it’s not true.
The maximum rows/columns in Excel is limited by the version of the product, not it’s ‘bitness’.
Having larger worksheet sizes just for 64-bit Excel would cause all sorts of document compatibility issues. Microsoft rightly wants their documents accessible to all copies of that application and version – regardless of whether it is 32-bit and 64-bit.
The reader messages made it clear that it’s still commonly believed that Excel is limited to 65,536 rows when Excel 2007 (32-bit) increased that to 1,048,576 rows.
|Excel version||Maximum |
|Excel for Mac |
– Excel 365
– Excel 2019
– Excel 2016
– Excel 2011
Excel 2002 (XP)
The .xls trap
Excel 2007 and later get downgraded to the lower Excel 2003 limits (65,536 x 256) when opening a .xls document. The older, less secure, Excel formats can’t cope with a higher number of rows/columns so Excel limits workbooks to the constraints of the file format.
To get larger worksheets, save the document to the Excel 2007+ .xlsx format.
Worksheet / tab limit
The number of worksheets in a single document/spreadsheet is another constraint. Excel 2007/2010 can theoretically handle 255 worksheets in a single document; however the practical limit is memory. The amount of memory available to Excel depends on both the operating system and version of Excel.
Excel 64-bit can access considerably more RAM and thus can deal with more worksheets at the same time. Excel 2010 and Excel 2007 32-bit versions have an upper memory limit of 2GB though other limitations may kick-in before you reach that.
Excel 64-bit can theoretically access 8 TERAbytes of memory, a 4,000 fold increase.
In other words, if you’re working with large workbooks, it’s much better to use 64-bit Office.
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