Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I have two excel files that are exactly the same (in terms of the content of the file) but differ by quite a margin on file size. One file is 37.5 KB while the other is 56 KB. The only difference I can see is the file names. I don't know why there is such a big difference. Is there some sort of history or something that is stored with the file that is not visible to the user? If so, how would you delete this?

share|improve this question

migrated from Oct 22 '10 at 12:54

This question came from our site for professional and enthusiast programmers.

Are your files on the same filesystem? If they are on different filesystems that don't have the same block size, that might be the reason. – vtest Oct 22 '10 at 13:12

There may be an excess of blank rows or columns in the larger file. If this is the case, the larger file will have a much lager scroll-able area and much smaller scroll bars (along the right and bottom edges of the window).

To delete extra columns, highlight the first blank column, hold ctrl + shift, and press the right arrow key to select them all. Right click the highlighted columns and select "Delete" from the context menu. Next, select the first blank row, hold ctrl + shift, press the down arrow key and delete the extra row.

Now save the document. Once saved, the scroll bars should return to the appropriate size, the scrollable area should now include only the area of the spreadsheet that contains data, and the size of the file should decrease.

share|improve this answer

Yes, the Office applications keep all kinds of junk besides the current contents of the document. You can clean up the file with the Remove Hidden Data Add-in.

share|improve this answer

Try creating a new, empty .xls file, copy the data you want from a larger file, and paste it into the new one.

share|improve this answer
It's not about the data, I wanted to know why there was such a big difference in file size and what was causing it. The formatting of both spreadsheets is exactly the same. – meme Aug 19 '10 at 15:57
well, as others have said, Excel does not optimize itself continuously for file size, as you're seeing. There's more to an .xls file than data and formatting. – Beth Aug 19 '10 at 16:18

Excel files can become 'fragmented' with constant editing. If you want to reduce the file size to a minimum, look at the following:

share|improve this answer

Excel does have a "Track Changes" feature under Tools/Track Changes on the menu bar; although it only keeps change records for a default of 30 days.

share|improve this answer

You must log in to answer this question.