How to fix an Excel Workbook file that’s mostly empty

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Ever wondered why your Excel Spreadsheet has so much empty space at the end and to the right? Or why is your workbook so big on disk?

Press Ctrl-End in on that spreadsheet in Excel and you will be taken to the very end of the sheet as Excel sees it. This can often be some random spot about 200 rows down from where your report ends. In the newer versions of Excel, this can be a big problem because you might be at row 1,000,000. This is bad, (perhaps even slightly evil!). Why? It can be a hassle when printing or saving as a PDF because the data you want to print is very small on the page, the file size can be massive and performance of Excel and your PC will be slow.

So how do you fix this issue?

  1. Open the offending Excel workbook and select a worksheet with data in it.
  2. Hit Ctrl-End on your keyboard and that will take to the very last cell as Excel knows it.
  3. Now highlight the columns that have no data in them, and delete the columns
  4. Then, hit Ctrl-End on your keyboard, highlight and delete the rows.  Don't worry that the columns you have deleted see appear not delete.  The next step is critical.
  5. Save the workbook.  This step will apply the deletions you have made.
  6. Test by hitting Ctrl-End on your keyboard and see if where the cursor lands.  You will notice the file size will be smaller too.
  7. Repeat these steps for every spreadsheet in your workbook.

And that's it!  Enjoy your smaller and faster Excel workbooks once again.


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