How Do I Recalculate a Workbook in Excel? A Step-by-Step Guide

Recalculating a workbook in Excel is a simple task. All you need to do is press the “F9” key on your keyboard. This action will refresh all the formulas in the workbook, ensuring that any changes you’ve made are updated across your data. It’s like giving your Excel sheet a quick check-up to make sure everything is working correctly.

After you hit that “F9” key, you might notice some numbers change. That’s because Excel is now using the latest data you’ve entered to recalculate the formulas. It’s pretty satisfying to see everything update instantly, right?


Excel is a powerful tool used by people all around the world. From students working on a school project to financial analysts crunching numbers, Excel’s robust capabilities make it a go-to application for spreadsheet tasks. But one of the essential features of Excel is its ability to handle formulas and functions. These help us automate calculations and save time. However, what happens when you change a value that multiple formulas use? How can you make sure your workbook reflects the most recent information? The answer lies in learning how to recalculate a workbook in Excel.

Recalculating your workbook is important because it ensures the accuracy of your data. Let’s face it, making decisions based on outdated or incorrect information can be disastrous, whether you’re managing a budget, analyzing survey data, or tracking inventory. So, let’s get into the nuts and bolts of how to recalculate a workbook in Excel, ensuring that you’re always working with the most up-to-date information.

Step by Step Tutorial: Recalculating your Workbook in Excel

Before we dive into the steps, it’s essential to understand what these actions will do. Recalculating your workbook will refresh all the formulas within your Excel sheet. If you’ve made any changes or updates to the data, this process will ensure that the results of your formulas are current and correct.

Step 1: Press the “F9” Key

Hit the “F9” key on your keyboard to recalculate the entire workbook.

When you press the “F9” key, Excel will go through every formula in your spreadsheet and update it. This ensures that all the calculations are based on the latest data you’ve entered.

Step 2: Use the “Calculate Now” Button

Go to the “Formulas” tab and click on “Calculate Now.”

If you’re not a fan of keyboard shortcuts, you can use the Excel interface. The “Calculate Now” button can be found in the “Formulas” ribbon and does the same thing as pressing “F9.”

Step 3: Recalculate a Specific Worksheet

Right-click on the worksheet tab and select “Recalculate Sheet” to update a single sheet.

Sometimes, you might not need to recalculate the entire workbook. By right-clicking on the tab of the worksheet you want to update, you can select “Recalculate Sheet” to refresh the formulas on that particular sheet only.


AccuracyRecalculating your Excel workbook ensures that all the data is accurate and up-to-date, which is crucial for making informed decisions.
EfficiencyIt saves time as you don’t have to manually update each cell or formula after changes in the data.
ConvenienceThe ability to recalculate with a simple key press or button click makes it an easy and quick process.


Performance IssuesIf you have a very large workbook with complex formulas, recalculating can be slow and may affect performance.
Potential for ErrorsIf formulas are not set up correctly, recalculating can propagate those errors throughout the workbook.
Over-relianceUsers might rely too much on recalculating and not notice when a formula is no longer necessary or relevant.

Additional Information

When talking about recalculating a workbook in Excel, it’s worth mentioning that Excel usually does this automatically. Anytime you make a change to a cell that’s used in a formula, Excel updates the result of that formula. However, there are times when you might want to turn off automatic calculations. Why would you do that? If you’re working with a massive spreadsheet, automatic calculation can slow down your work. And when you’re ready for an update, you can just hit “F9” or use the “Calculate Now” button, as we discussed.

Another thing to keep in mind is that you can also force Excel to recalculate only when you save the workbook. This can be useful if you’re making a lot of changes and don’t need to see the results until you’re finished. To do this, go to the ‘Formulas’ tab, click on ‘Calculation Options,’ and select ‘Calculate on Save.’


  1. Press the “F9” key to recalculate the entire workbook.
  2. Click on “Calculate Now” in the “Formulas” tab for the same result without a keyboard shortcut.
  3. Right-click on a worksheet tab and select “Recalculate Sheet” to update formulas in a single sheet only.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I turn off automatic calculation in Excel?

Go to the “Formulas” tab, click on “Calculation Options,” and select “Manual.” This will turn off automatic calculation.

Can I recalculate only a specific range of cells?

No, Excel doesn’t allow you to recalculate a specific range. You can either recalculate a whole sheet or the entire workbook.

Why isn’t Excel recalculating my formulas automatically?

Check your calculation options. If it’s set to “Manual,” Excel won’t recalculate until you tell it to.

Can I use a different key instead of “F9” to recalculate my workbook?

No, “F9” is the designated key for recalculating workbooks in Excel. There’s no option to change it.

Does recalculating a workbook also update pivot tables?

No, pivot tables require a separate step to refresh. Right-click on the pivot table and select “Refresh.”


Recalculating a workbook in Excel is essential to maintain the integrity and accuracy of your data. It’s an easy process that can be done with a simple key press or click, but understanding when and how to do it can make a significant difference in your productivity.

Whether you’re a student or a professional, mastering the recalculation of your Excel workbook can ensure your data is always reliable and up-to-date. Keep practicing, and don’t forget to explore other features Excel offers to streamline your work further. Happy calculating!

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