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Three new performance boosts for Excel 365

Excel 365 for Windows is getting three performance boosts that you might not notice but speed up your work on less powerful computers.

All these Excel 365 for Windows tweaks are designed for what Microsoft politely calls “resource-constrained devices”. That means:

  • CPUs with two cores or less
  • 8GB of RAM or less

That’s about the minimum specs for a new computer.  Office Watch recommends at least 12GB, preferably 16GB or more RAM on a new computer. 

Windows 11 for Microsoft Office users (and our Windows 10 book) have a chapter explaining hardware requirements.  The book also has our recommendations which are more practical than Microsoft’s self-serving notions.

Cloud PC targeted?

It’s likely these changes are because cloud-based virtual computers like Windows Cloud PC or rivals which can have limited ‘hardware’ settings.

The ‘Basic’ Windows Cloud PC is a mere 4GB RAM and 2 x vCPU yet Microsoft promotes it as supporting the desktop Office apps.  Even the ‘Standard’ option only boosts the RAM to 8GB.

More efficient AutoFilter

AutoFilter is the familiar pull-down list of sorting and filtering options available for tables and lists.  Go to Data | Sort & Filter | Filter  or choose Table Design | Table Style Options | Filter Button.

According to Microsoft the AutoFilter function is now noticeably faster by improving memory usage and the calls by the comparison algorithm.

Faster formula entry

Entering a formula in a cell should be faster.  Microsoft has reduced memory usage, making more efficient memory allocation calls, and optimized redrawing of the visible range around the cell being edited.

This is more helpful and obvious on slower, cheaper devices, virtual or cloud-based computers.

Better performance on slower computers

On these limited computers, Excel 365 will now recalculate on a single thread. According to Microsoft “In most cases, users should see noticeably faster calculation”

Workbooks with a lot of calculations on a less powerful machine might benefit by overriding the new default  at File | Options | Advanced | Formulas  then increasing the “Number of calculation threads” to 2

Who gets it?

These Excel 365 changes first appear in the Beta release for Insiders Version 2206(Build 15227.20000 and later. They’ll eventually appear in the Preview and Public releases.

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