Google Desktop Search slows Excel

Jan 22nd 2008
Sift Media
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As reported recently on the Daily Dose of Excel site, Charles Williams of tried to find out what was causing the delays on certain versions of Excel when he tried to clear a large range of cells.

Following further discussions on VBA news groups, it was found that problem could be linked to the EnableEvents property. But then, Williams discovered, "The problem actually turns out to be the Google Desktop Office Com Add-In. When you deactivate this you get a miraculous speedup."

He thought that the Google Add-In sets up one or more application-level events to monitor actions such as selection changes and worksheet changes in order to trap and index the changes. A free Decision Models benchmark timer can be used to test Excel performance with and without EnableEvents activated.

It has to be noted that Williams and his fellow VBA programmers are used to handling very large files. If your worksheet has less than 10,000 active cells, the delays will not be very noticeable. But if you do want to improve performance, the Google Desktop Add-In can be deactivated, in Excel 2007 by going to the Office Button and selecting Excel Options-Addins-Com Addins, where the Google Desktop Office Add-In can be deselected.

In earlier versions of Excel, you will have to customize a toolbar and add the Com Addins dialogue to do this, Williams advised. Go to View-Toolbars-Customize-Commands tab-Tools, and the Com Add-Ins will be visible halfway down the list. Select it and drag it to the toolbar of your choice. You will then be able to uncheck the Google Add-in.

One mystery that Williams has not yet resolved is whether this is an unintentional glitch, or a new twist in the Google-Microsoft wars.

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