A single worksheet in Excel 2007 can contain over 1,000 times as many cells as earlier versions.
In earlier versions of Excel, many people created slow-calculating worksheets, and larger worksheets usually calculate more slowly than smaller ones.
Between 1 and 10 seconds, users will probably switch to manual calculation.
For calculation times greater than 10 seconds, users become impatient and usually switch to other tasks while waiting.
This can cause problems when the calculation is one of a sequence of tasks and the user loses track.
This article is based on experience with the Beta 2 version of Microsoft Office Excel 2007 and therefore may not accurately reflect the content, user-interface, or performance of the final version of Excel 2007.
The Excel 2007 "Big Grid" increases the maximum number of rows per worksheet from 65,536 to over 1 million, and the number of columns from 256 (IV) to 16,384 (XFD).
Poor calculation speed affects productivity and increases user errors.
Studies have shown that a user's productivity and ability to focus on a task deteriorate as response time lengthens.
With the Excel 2007 "Big Grid," performance really matters: Slow calculation makes it more difficult for users to concentrate, and it increases errors.
Excel 2007 introduces a number of features to help you handle this capacity increase, such as the ability to use more than one processor at a time for calculations.
Between a tenth of a second and one second, users can successfully keep a train of thought going, although they will notice the response time delay.