Google Toolbar Slows Excel

This report comes from Charles Williams of DecisionModels.com fame. Charles knows a thing or two about performance in Excel.

For the last few weeks I have been trying to find out why clearing a large range of cells caused Excel to hang on some PCs but not on others. This does not happen with Excel 97, but does with Excel 2000, 2002, 2003 and 2007.

It turns out that its not just Clear, but also Delete or transferring data from a variant to a range, or even just selecting a large range of cells.The further down the sheet and to the right the slower it gets. And the more recent the Excel version the slower it gets.

Someone on the newsgroups discovered that, when using VBA, you could bypass this problem by switching off EnableEvents, and then someone else discovered that the culprit was Google Desktop Search.

The problem actually turns out to be the Google Desktop Office Com Addin. When you deactivate this you get a miraculous speedup.

With Excel 2007 it is fairly easy to deactivate:
Office Button–>Excel Options–>Addins–>Com Addins and deselect Google Desktop Office Addin

With earlier versions of Excel you have to customise a toolbar and add the Com Addins dialog to it.
View–>Toolbars–>Customise–>Commands tab–>Tools then about halfway down you will find Com Addins, select and drag to the toolbar of your choice.
Then you can uncheck Google Desktop Office addin.

If you have multiple versions of Excel installed you only have to do this once.

Presumably this COM addin sets up one or more application-level events to monitor things like Selection Change and Worksheet change and then tries to trap the change in order to index it.

If you want to measure this effect you can download a Variant Benchmark Timer from my website that allows you to run a read and write benchmark with and without EnableEvents.

DecisionModels.com/Downloads

This represents an interesting new twist in the Google-Microsoft wars!

Thanks Charles.

12 Comments

  1. Doug Glancy says:

    Dick,

    You might want to change the post title from “Toolbar” to “Desktop”.

  2. Peter Carr says:

    Has anybody found a similiar problem with Windows Desktop Search? I have found my PC (in Excel) is much slower than a identically spec’ed colleagues one. We have been unable to find a cause, but I have Windows Desktop Search and he doesn’t.

  3. Hui... says:

    The Google Toolbar and Search functions also stops Outlook 2003 opening emails with email attachments, still allows you open other file types ?

    Google are bound to fix these issues quickly, I hope !

  4. alderaic says:

    I tried that benchmark and for me turning off events slows down excel… go figure… at least I can assume than I dont have too much crap on my computer

  5. [...] I want to share an article with you: This week Dick Kusleika posted a very interesting article where he quoted Charles Williams from DecisionModels.com. Charles Williams is an absolute expert in [...]

  6. Jan says:

    Statistically speaking people who have Google Toolbars or more specifically Google Desktop are more likely to have other apps running in the background on their machines. So there is bound to be a general slowdown when comparing relative machines. It doesn’t appear to slow mine down although Google Desktop does generally take up a lot of resources.

  7. Sudeep John says:

    This definitely helped though you can also turn off google desktop by going to google program file

  8. arianraj says:

    really good found out, for the excel users.

  9. alex says:

    Too lazy to confirm this, but I bet I had this problem but solved it a different way.

    I was using excel to manipulate 40K rows of data and simply deleting the data was taking forever.

    I turned off virtual memory – I have 4GB RAM installed and figured I should rarely use virtual memory (aka swap file) anyway.

  10. Well, In June 2010, I have just found the same problem with the Google Desktop Office AddIn (which was installed within the last 9 months or so).

    Basically this plugin installs with Google Desktop and proceeds to wreck your Excel. I have so far seen the AddIn cause the following problems:

    - Undo and Redo break after a save. After saving my undo chain is just 2 items, but worse is that it will only redo 1 of them. So if I save, undo, redo, I lose the change – very confusing to say the least.

    - Performance on selecting lots of rows. I have a spreadsheet with about 20k rows. Just selecting rows used to slow down so quickly that after I had selected 5 or 6 pages it just died. Without the AddIn it selects blindingly fast.

    - Performance on inserts and clears – dreadful on lots of lines with the AddIn in place.

    Whatever you do, disable this AddIn, and you will have a much happier time with Excel.

    Shame on Google for releasing such a broken piece of s**t

  11. Prem says:

    Hats off to Dick Kusleika . It helped . It was a pain on my neck .

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