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XLS and XLSX: Maximum Number of Columns and Rows

Info by MemoryMan | 19/01/2018 at 14:08

The maximum number of possible columns and rows in Microsoft Excel is not unlimited. Instead, the limit differs from version to version and is depending on whether the file format is XLSX or XLS.

Here is a table of previous versions and formats of Excel as well as the maximum number of rows and columns allowed for the corresponding version and format.

VersionFormatMax. RowsMax. Columns
Excel 2016 (16.0)XLSX1.048.57616.384 (XFD)
Excel 2013 (15.0)XLSX1.048.57616.384 (XFD)
Excel 2010 (14.0)XLSX1.048.57616.384 (XFD)
Excel 2007 (12.0)XLSX1.048.57616.384 (XFD)
Excel 2003 (11.0)XLS65.536256 (IV)
Excel 2002 (10.0)XLS65.536256 (IV)
Excel 2000 (9.0)XLS65.536256 (IV)
Excel 97 (8.0)XLS65.536256 (IV)
Excel 95 (7.0)XLS16.384256 (IV)
Excel 5.0 (1993)XLS16.384256 (IV)
Excel 4.0 (1992)XLS16.384256 (IV)
Excel 3.0 (1990)XLS16.384256 (IV)
Excel 2.0 (1987)XLS16.384256 (IV)
Excel 1.0 (1985)XLS16.384256 (IV)

In the first versions of Excel, only 16,384 lines and 256 columns were allowed. This made it possible to go from column A to column IV. The last field in the lower right corner was the field IV16384.

Starting with Excel 97, the maximum number of lines for the XLS format was increased to 65,536, the number of columns remained unchanged. So, a maximum of 16,777,216 cells are possible in an XLS sheet.

First with Excel 2007 and the introduction of the XLSX format, there was a further increase. Now, 1,048,576 rows and 16,384 columns (that is from column A to column XFD) are possible. Overall, a current Excel spreadsheet can therefore comprise 17,179,869,184 cells. Incidentally, this increase only applies to the XLSX format. If you use a current version of Excel to store in the old XLS format, the limit of 65,536 lines and 256 columns is there still today. If you nevertheless try to save a spreadsheet that exceeds this range in XLS format, Excel will issue an error message and not save the corresponding field(s).

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NetLabel

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11 Vote

There's an easy way to determine the maximum number of lines your Excel version supports:

  1. Just open an empty file
  2. Click into the field A1
  3. Press the keys CTRL + Down Arrow

Excel then jumps to the very last possible line. For XLSX format this should be the line 1048576.

If you use OpenOffice, you have to use a differing key combination: CTRL + Shift + Down Arrow Key.
20/01/2018 at 17:03

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Anja Proggy

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Perhaps a little note on the topic from the category of unnecessary factual knowledge:

If a number is entered in each possible field, a Microsoft Office 2003 XLS file has a size of 227 MB. If you do the same for all cells in XLSX format as of Office 2007, the file will have 1.35 GB (1382 MB).
23/01/2018 at 13:38

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