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What is Row Limitation in Excel, and How to Bypass it?

August 4, 2023 1.3K views

Excel is used for data processing and analysis, and it has certain rows and columns to store data efficiently. Have you ever thought about how many rows are in Excel? According to Microsoft, Excel has a row limitation of 1,048,576 rows in a single sheet. If you want to add more rows, you must create a new sheet. The reason for the row limitation is the efficient processing of data. Moreover, Excel is data analysis software, not a database. You can use SQL or Access to store your database.

Many people need help dealing with large datasets. Excel software may hang, crash, or respond slowly while dealing with large datasets. This article will help you gain knowledge about row limitations in Excel. We will also describe different methods to bypass this issue.

Part 1. What is Row Limitation in Excel, and Why Does Excel Limit Rows?

According to Microsoft, Excel has a row limitation of 1,048,576, and 16,384 is the column limitation. This applies to all versions of Excel from Excel 2007 to Microsoft 365. In earlier versions of Excel up to Excel 2003, the row limit was 65536. As you know that Microsoft 365 is cloud-based, then why is there a row limitation? Here are a few possible reasons.

1. Optimization

One of the key reasons for row limitation is optimization for good performance. Excel has many built-in functions and features, and handling unlimited rows with good performance will be difficult. Moreover, Excel is designed to process human data efficiently and cannot continuously handle huge logs generated by machines. Whenever you want to open an unlimited number of rows with Excel, you may face degraded performance; even Excel may hang or crash.

2. General Use VS Purpose Built

Excel was built as a desktop financial analysis tool, and over the years, it was modified to handle different tasks. However, it is designed to handle a limited number of data. Every machine and each software has certain limitations when it comes to performance. Similarly, when you input an unlimited number of rows into Excel, it cannot process them efficiently.

3. Excel is not a Database

Excel is basically a data analysis software, not a database. It is not designed to store an unlimited amount of big data. For data storage, Microsoft has designed SQL Server and Access. Microsoft also recommends using SQL Server or Access for handling and storing big data.

Part 2. How to Get Past Excel Row Limit?

1,048,576 rows is a huge number. Dealing with so many rows seems tedious and cumbersome. If you have an Excel sheet with 1,048,576 rows, you can reduce the rows by hiding the unnecessary rows or limiting the scrolling area. Here are different methods to get past the Excel row limit.

Method 1: Hide Rows You Don’t want to show

Sometimes you might be dealing with a huge dataset and must pay attention to all rows. In this case, you cannot delete rows. However, you can hide unnecessary rows. Here are the steps to hide selected rows.

  • Select the desired rows you want to hide.

  • Right-click the rows you have highlighted.

  • Click the Hide option to hide the selected rows.

  • You can also unhide the rows by clicking the Unhide option.

Method 2: Scrolling limits

You can also limit the scrolling area by following these steps.

  • Open the worksheet you want to limit scrolling.

  • Right-click the sheet name.

  • Click the View Code option to open the Visual Basic window for the selected sheet.

  • Click on View in the main menu and then on Properties Window.

  • In the next window, enter the cell numbers to set the scroll area. In our example, e have set a scroll area from 570 to 580.

  • Now the scroll area is locked between cells 570 and 580. Whether you scroll down or scroll up, the screen is locked between 570 and 580.

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Method 3: Protecting the rows

Another method of restricting the rows is protecting the rows and thereby restricting the user to access the protected cells. In this method, all the rows are visible to the user; the user is only restricted to accessing the rows. Here is how you can protect the rows.

  • Select the entire sheet you want to protect.

  • Right-click on the sheet name and select Protect Sheet.

  • The entire sheet has been protected now. Users are unable to edit any cell. To enable users to edit certain rows, select the desired rows and right-click on the selected rows.

  • In the next window, uncheck the Locked option and click the OK button to enable users to change the selected rows.

Part 3: Free Alternative Choice - WPS Office

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the maximum row limit in different Excel versions?

Up to Excel 2003, the row limit was 65,536. From Excel 2007 to Microsoft 365, the latest Excel version, the row limit is 1,048,576, and the column limit is 16,384.

2. Can I increase the row limit in Excel?

No, you can not increase the Excel row limit. However, you can create a new worksheet in Excel to add more rows.

3. What are the consequences of exceeding the row limitation in Excel?

If you exceed the Excel row limit, the result will be truncated. Excel may hang, freeze, or crash while loading a sheet with a large dataset.

Row Limitation In Excel - Summary

In this article, we have described in detail Excel row limitations. We have also recommended the best software for processing Excel worksheets. WPS Office is the best and most popular office productivity solution nowadays. It is being used by millions of users worldwide. It is free to use. WPS Office has a simple and intuitive user interface similar to Microsoft Office. New users can easily use all functions of WPS Office.

WPS Office is also available for multiple platforms, e.g., Windows, Linux, Ubuntu, Mac, Android, and iOS. You can download WPS Office for free from its official website for your desired operating system.


15 years of office industry experience, tech lover and copywriter. Follow me for product reviews, comparisons, and recommendations for new apps and software.