How to Reduce File Size in Excel Without Using Software

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Microsoft Excel files can contain thousands of cells filled with data. When you combine this information with graphics, such as charts and graphs, as well as ever-expanding links to other worksheets, you can end up with an enormous file that takes up precious system space and slows Excel down. While there are many software programs available that promise to shrink Excel files, there are many ways to reduce the bulk without downloading a new application.

  • Click on any cell in the Excel file you want to reduce. Open the "Go To" dialog box in Excel 2007 by clicking the "Find" drop-down arrow on the Home tab of the ribbon and selecting "Go To." In Excel 2003 or earlier, go to the "Edit" menu and select "Go To." You can also use the keyboard shortcut "Ctrl+G" in any version of Excel.

  • Click the "Special" button on the "Go To" dialog box. Select "Blanks" and click "OK." Click the "Clear" drop-down in the "Editing" group in Excel 2007 and select "Clear All." In Excel 2003 or earlier, go to the "Edit" menu, point to "Clear" and select "All." This will clear any blank cells to help reduce the file size.

  • Go to the very last cell containing data in the Excel file. Select the entire row beneath this cell by clicking the number to the left of it. Hold "Ctrl+Shift" and then press the down arrow key to select all of the cells beneath this point.

  • Click the "Clear" drop-down in the "Editing" group in Excel 2007 and select "Clear All." In Excel 2003 or earlier, go to the "Edit" menu, point to "Clear" and select "All." Select the column to the right of the last cell. Hold "Ctrl+Shift" and then press the right arrow key. Again, select "Clear All."

  • Repeat Steps 1 through 5 for any other Excel files that are linked to the workbook you are trying to reduce. Save the files and then check the new file size by clicking the "Office Button" in Excel 2007. Point to "Prepare" and then click on "Properties." In Excel 2003 or earlier, go to the "File" menu and select "Properties." The file size will be listed on the "General" tab.

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