FIX: Microsoft Excel out of memory errors

by Teodor Nechita
Teodor Nechita
Teodor Nechita
Software Managing Editor
Eager to help those in need, Teodor writes articles daily on subjects regarding Windows, Xbox, and all things tech-related. When not working, you may usually find him either... read more
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office 365 not enough system resources to display completely

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If you work in an organization, you most probably have the latest version of the Microsoft Office suite or Office 365 installed on your PC. Even if you don’t, it’s very unlikely that you have never heard of Microsoft Excel before.

However, this doesn’t make Excel immune to occasional bugs. Such would be the case with an error message users have been reporting, which looks something like this: Out of Memory. Not enough System Resources to Display Completely.

How can I fix insufficient memory errors in Excel?

1. Check the contents of the spreadsheet

These are the main things that cause the out of memory error messages:

  • Inserting a row or column
  • Performing calculations
  • Copy and pasting
  • Sorting
  • Opening or closing the workbook
  • Running VBA

If you are doing any of the actions mentioned above and you receive the error, check what exactly is wrong. If that is the case, try doing the following:

  • Recheck the formulas
  • Recheck the calculations
  • Avoid using excess shapes
  • Avoid using complex PivotTables
  • Try not to use macros and complex charts with many data points

2. Check your Excel Add-ins

If you think an Excel add-in is responsible for an error, try disabling it and then check if the error appears again.

  • Click File
  • Go to Options
  • Select Add-ins
  • Click the Go button
  • Select the add-ins you want to disable or remove
  • Uncheck the box in front of the respective add-in
  • Click OK

3. Verify Excel or install the latest updates

  1. Right-click the Start button
  2. Select Apps and Features on the pop-up menu.
  3. Select the Microsoft Excel, and select Modify

Depending on whether your copy of Office is Click-to-run or MSI-based install, the next steps will vary a little.

3.1. Click-to-run

A window called How would you like to repair your Office Programs will appear

  1. Select Online Repair
  2. Choose Repair to make sure everything gets fixed
    • The Quick Repair option is faster but it only detects and then replaces corrupted files

office 365 not enough system resources to display completely repair

3.2. MSI-based

  1. In Change your installation, select Repair
  2. Click Continue
  3. Follow the given instruction to complete the process

4. Disable your Antivirus

Antivirus software will usually run in the background scanning your Excel file as you make it. This will usually make Excel run out of memory and thus trigger the error message.

Disable your antivirus program and see if Excel still encounters this error. Remember that each antivirus program is disabled in a different way, so check the documentation on the developer’s website for more info.

If you’re looking for a new antivirus, we have the one for you!

5. Change your default Printer

  1. Close Excel
  2. Press Start
  3. Select Settings
  4. Select Devices
  5. Go to Printers 
  6. Right-click the Microsoft XPS Document Writer printer
  7. Click Set as Default

office 365 not enough system resources to display completely change printer

6. Use the 64-bit version of Excel

The 32-bit version of Microsoft Excel has a is 2 GB limitation. So, if the processes require more than 2 GB, Microsoft excel will run out of memory and the error message will appear.

Moving to the Microsoft Excel 64-bit version provides more space and will thus solve any memory-related issues you may have with the application.

If you’re tired of not enough RAM, check out our top recommended upgrade options!

7. Completely reinstall Microsoft Excel

Sometimes we have no choice but to start from scratch. Such would be the case if all the above-mentioned solutions fail to solve your problem.

  1. Remove your old Microsoft Office completely
  2. Go to the Microsoft Office product page
  3. Buy the Office package of your choice
  4. Log in using your Microsoft account credentials
  5. Select Install Now to save the installation file on your PC
  6. Double-click on the downloaded file and follow the on-screen instructions

Did our guide help you in getting rid of the memory-related error in Excel? Let us know in the comments section below.


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