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Currently, the Excel development team is spending a lot of time tuning Excel 2007’s calculation performance to make it as fast as possible. Given the near-infinite variety of things we see people build in Excel, we are always looking for good examples of workbooks that are calculation-intensive to help us compare Excel 2007’s calculation performance with previous versions’ performance on real-world files that matter to customers. At some point last week it dawned on me that some of the Excel 12 blog readers might be in a position to help (given the number of comments and emails I have had from folks interested in or concerned about calculation and function speed). So I’d like to appeal to folks to send in calculation-intensive workbooks they would like us to use as part of our performance tuning exercise.
Specifically, we are looking for workbooks that take some time to calculate (say anything over 5 seconds). Other than that, pretty much anything goes with respect to features used in the product. (Please note that some features, like linked workbooks, UDFs, database queries, etc. may require more than just the file.) Of course, anything submitted will be treated as 100% confidential and used only for calculation performance testing. Folks can either email the files to me (with any explanations necessary) using this link: http://blogs.msdn.com/excel/contact.aspx, or if email will not work, we can sort out other arrangements. Once we have the workbooks, we baseline their performance in earlier versions of Excel and then run them on set of test machines (different CPU and memory configurations) using Excel 2007 and compare the results.
The Office marketing group has made some prizes available, so the person that submits the longest-calculating model will get an interesting prize, as will the person that submits the model that exercises the widest range of Excel’s calculation features. Double points for using more than 30 functions in a model or for using array formulas. Thanks in advance to anyone that sends in workbooks.
PS Since this post has a limited lifespan, I will probably remove it at some point in the future.
PSS Updated to include email link directly in post
OK, so where do we send the files?
Spence, there is "Email" link on the left -->
This post is interesting, so when the offer "expires", please do not remove the post. Instead prefix/suffix the post with an experation notice.
I still can't find David's Email or "Email" link, can you specify more clearly? tks.
We do a lot of data analysis using Visual Basic in Excel 2003 and have just compiled a test spreadsheet which is representative of the type of data analysis we do. Our analysis will be getting more complicated and we've just run this on a sample of PCs from an old Pentium II through our current PCs (3GHz Pentium IV's) to one of our teams personal dual core AMD 3800. We get times from 36 minutes through to about 4 minutes. Any improvement you can give via the next Excel release with 64 bit/multi core/visual basic so much the better. I'll email our test file in.
Sorry where's the email link to send the test file to ?
I applaud the fantastic efforts are being undertaken to make Excel 2007, and Office 2007 in general.
Spence, Alan - The email link is in the right hand column.
Hi - Spence, dino_hsu, Alan, others, here is the link:
Or you can click the "Email" link in the "This Blog" box in the upper right of the page.
Let me know if that doesn't work.
David, the Email link on the right (@ This Blog section) shows a contact form which doesn't allow me to send files.
Hein, the contact form will send me an email which I can then use to get in touch with you and sort out the best way to get the files transfered.
Thanks for your help, all!
Using named ranges becomes very sluggish after adding a lot of them (>5000). This is not so much true for
worksheets but especially for Range() lookups in VBA code. Furthermore, clicking the Name Box on the top left lets you waits a couple of seconds before
the name can be actually edited. We did some tests and found that Excel uses a linear search algorithm for finding named ranges, which meant that
finding names starting with 'A' is very fast and with 'Z' is very slow. Copying sheets also slows down considerably even when the worksheet is empty.
Creating and deleting names is also affected, especially when having to delete all names from a workbook and recreate them. We also found that when copying
a chart object from one workbook to another, all names are copied as well, which slows things down and creates a very large output workbook.
Given the big grid increase to a million rows one major speed improvement you could do would be to add new versions of MATCH and VLOOKUP,HLOOKUP (FMATCH etc) which perform faster than the current versions for exact matches on unsorted data. The speed improvement would come from storing the row number of a successful match, and on the next execution check if that row number returns the 'correct' result then its done, otherwise do the usual linear search. You would probably need new versions of the functions because FMATCH could return a different row to MATCH when there were multiple matches to be found.
I have built functions using this technique and it works well.
Do you have a Reuters 3000 Xtra and a Bloomberg? I can send spreadsheets which extract data from both and then take a minute or so to calculate (60 seconds from starting application.calculate to finishing).
I'm very interested to know how you actually test RTD performance under heavy load. Can you describe that in a post?
I have a copy of beta-1, but the documentation is so sparse (non-existent) it's hard to actually see what to do to tweak calculations...
PS Blog is fantastic - just wish every Blog from Microsoft was as good.
David, I have written my messages with a link to the four Excel files I provide for test.
I have a 4 Mb workbook that batch processes 61 cases, mainly a matrix of 160 columns by 450 rows (actuarial projection)
It includes UDFs which cache intermediate results so next time calculation is faster.
1st calculation round on my 2.8 GHz Pentium 1 min 38 sec.
I couldn't get the batch to work reliably yet on the Office 12 beta.
Please let me know if you're interested; I certainly am!