Shrink your Excel files with One Weird Trick

I was asked to review another forensic accountant’s workpapers as a part of a consulting engagement. When I received the file, it totaled over 18 MB. By making a single change, I was able to lower its size to 53 KB. The next time you come across an oddly bloated Excel file, follow these steps.


  1. On each sheet, press Ctrl + End. This moves the cursor to the last cell Excel stores. In this case, one of sheets took me to column BO, row 1,048,576. Although only the first 39 rows contained meaningful data, the remaining rows stored formatting information, which Excel dutifully saved.
  2. Select all rows you don’t need (in this case, I pressed Ctrl + G and entered “40:1048576”) and delete the information (Ctrl + –). Make sure you select and delete the entire row / column as appropriate (Shift + Spacebar and Ctrl + Spacebar, respectively).
  3. Enjoy your faster load times and lower storage costs.