FIX: Not enough memory error in Microsoft Excel

Vladimir Popescu
by Vladimir Popescu
Managing Editor
Being an artist his entire life while also playing handball at a professional level, Vladimir has also developed a passion for all things computer-related. With an innate fascination for research and analysis, and realizing... Read more
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If you encountered the error Not enough memory in Microsoft Excel, you are not alone.

A large number of users have asked questions on the Microsoft forums relating to this issue.

This error occurs when you’re trying to fill or copy different formulas on a very large worksheet area, or if the worksheet is extremely large.

The error message received in this case will show in different formats:

Not enough memory.

Not enough system resources to display completely.

In today’s article, we will discuss the reasons for this error showing up, and also how to prevent it from happening. Read on to find out more.


Here’s what we know about this Microsoft Excel issue

Why does this error occur in Microsoft Excel?

laptop close-up - not enough memory in Excel

As we mentioned above, this annoying error appears on your screen if you’re trying to copy a large volume of data in your Excel sheets, or if you’re adding formulas to a big number of sheets at once.

The specific reason for this error occurring is hidden in the way Microsoft Excel has been built.

Every instance of Excel is limited to 2 GB (gigabyte) of memory, and also 32,760 source cells when you’re using a smart fill option.

Depending on the specific action you’re trying to perform, both or one of these limitations will cause the above-mentioned error to appear.


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Here’s how you can avoid seeing this error message

1. Perform the selection of cells gradually

notebook and pen - Excel not enough memory

If you select only part of the entire range you need to be filled, and then do the same for the following section of cells.

To make sure that the limitations are not reached, you might want to only select the last row of the previously filled section when you move on to the second, third, etc. segment.

You can repeat this process until you reached the end of your selection need.


2. Separate your Excel file into different workbooks

laptop with notepad - Excel not enough memory

Another good option is to break up your big Excel file into separate workbooks, and then opening each of them in different instances of Excel.

This method will allow you to avoid reaching the 2GB limitation. Each of the workbooks will use 2GB of memory.


Conclusion

In today’s how-to guide we talked about the best methods to apply if you’re working with a big MS Excel file and you are stopped by the memory or cell limitations.

Please feel free to tell us if this guide has proven useful in your case. You can do so by using the comment section below.

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