Big Data
Sep 21, 2023

What To Do When Google Sheets Keeps Crashing

Even with all its industry-leading capabilities, Google Sheets can still make life difficult—especially when you’re working on large files.

On top of slow performance and limited offline functionalities, Sheets is prone to crashing when your file becomes too heavy. It can also start lagging (and ultimately freeze) if you work with too many formulas or collaborate with several users simultaneously. 

Looking for answers to why Google Sheets keeps crashing? 

This article will explain all possible reasons why Google Sheets is crashing and give you a solid fix for this issue.  

Google Sheets keeps Crashing

The limitations of Google Sheets

More than 900 million people use Google Sheets every month. Within that massive user base, a segment of users frequently faces performance issues and crashes in the app. 

Let’s dig deeper into four main reasons why.

1. Large files and multiple sheets can overburden the platform

While Google Sheets offers a versatile interface and functionalities, it’s heavily limited in the amount of data the platform can handle. If your spreadsheet becomes too large—nearing the upper limit of 10 million cells, Google Sheets will start lagging and ultimately crash. 

If your workbook has too many sheets, complex formulas applied across various tabs or advanced data validation actions, your browser will slow down before becoming unresponsive. 

2. Accumulated browser cache can slow down performance

Since Google Sheets is a browser-based platform, a certain amount of memory is allocated to your Sheets tab. The platform processes your actions in real time. This process slows down if the allocated memory is exhausted and the tab ultimately crashes. 

Besides, your browser also accumulates data as you browse the internet and perform different actions. The more cache accumulated in your browser, the more time Google Sheets will take to process data in real time. The result? Slow performance and frequent crashing.

3. Multiple active users working simultaneously can create pressure

Another big hiccup when using Google Sheets can be its collaborative function. When multiple users work on a spreadsheet simultaneously, the platform has to process a lot of data quickly and make necessary updates. This continuous recalculation and data processing slows down your system, leading to a crash. 

4. Implementing several formulas can strain the system 

Using formulas in Google Sheets can also lead to performance issues. Every time you edit a cell associated with a formula, the platform recalculates the formula again for all applicable cells. If you’re changing multiple cells in a formula-heavy spreadsheet, the platform has to constantly recalculate the data. This creates too much load for the system. 

Not just that, using formulas with dependencies across different bsheets can trigger an even bigger chain of recalculations. It leads to a massive processing task that takes time and computational power.

Why did my Google Sheets file size get so big?

Your spreadsheet is crashing every minute, but you’re not sure how exactly your Google Sheets file became so big (and problematic). Here are a few potential reasons why:

  • Your file has a high volume of data, covering Google Sheets’ maximum row/column or cell limits
  • You’ve embedded high-resolution images or other media formats in your spreadsheet 
  • You’ve applied heavy custom formatting and additional scripts using integrations
  • Your file includes many complex and array formulas with various dependencies
  • You’ve created complicated data validation rules referencing multiple cells

Here’s the tricky part: finding and fixing these issues one-by-one will likely take you hours, or days. 

So, if Google Sheets keeps crashing for you, what’s the best alternative, especially if you’re working with large spreadsheet files.

An effortless way to work on spreadsheets too big for Google Sheets

If you need a seamless spreadsheet platform to:

Then you’re in the right place. 

Gigasheet is purpose-built to let users like you experience the convenience of spreadsheets with the speed of big data to work with datasets of any scale. You can upload or create files as large as 1 billion rows and organize your data efficiently. 

Here’s an example where I uploaded a file with 4.3 million cells to Gigasheet and it was processed in a few seconds. 

Gigasheet can upload more than billion rows when google sheets keeps crashing

Read about the time I uploaded a 140+ GB file to Gigasheet and the results of my experiment! 

With Gigasheet, you can do everything possible in Google Sheets and go beyond with the Gigasheet API to operationalize your data. Its AI-powered Sheet Assistant and custom enrichments are other capabilities worth trying Gigasheet for. 

So, if you want to work on a large spreadsheet but don’t have the time to use complicated data analytics tools, Gigasheet can do the heavy lifting to process your data quickly and accurately.

How to reduce Google Sheets file size in 4 ways

Let’s cover a few proven ways to reduce your file size and prevent Google Sheets crashing repeatedly.

1. Keep formatting minimal and lightweight

While formatting can help in organizing your data and make your spreadsheet visually clearer, it can also bloat your file. Too many conditional formatting rules means your browser needs more memory to process all these rules.

Declutter your spreadsheet by removing unnecessary formatting conditions and reduce the file size by using minimal formatting options. If you’re using any theme, remove it and check your conditional format rules to tackle the biggest issues. 

Keep format minimal and lightweight

2. Avoid applying too many formulas

Another best practice to keep your Google Sheets file normal sized is to reduce the number of formulas you use throughout your workbook. You can use built-in functions instead of applying formulas to maintain optimal performance. 

You should also be careful when using array formulas since they’re applied to large ranges and can take up too much processing power. Besides, you can try to create a few consolidated formulas applicable to a range of cells instead of using too many formulas for every small action.

3. Reduce the number of sheets in the workbook

A single Google Sheets file can collect a lot of data when shared between multiple users. The version histories and comments can often increase the file size and lead to frequent crashes. 

If you’re using a file collaboratively, aim to audit your spreadsheet and keep only necessary data regularly. You have to consistently clean up your sheet to maintain the right size without populating it with too much clutter.

4. Optimize images and media 

You can also reduce the file size for your spreadsheets by compressing images and other media assets. A high-resolution image can be really heavy and take too long to process. When you compress this image, Google Sheets can process it quickly without taking too much memory.

You can also try linking images instead of adding them to your file. This will redirect users to the right image outside of your spreadsheet and keep the file size normal.

Make Google Sheets work like a breeze! 

Google Sheets is a powerful spreadsheet platform—until it starts crashing. 

Whether you’re dealing with a large file or working with too many people, anything can be the real reason behind Google Sheets crashing issues. 

But if you’re looking for a permanent solution to these repetitive problems, try Gigasheet. It’s fast, accurate, and hassle-free. Try it yourself for free!

The ease of a spreadsheet with the power of a database, at cloud scale.

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