Will Excel for Mac 2016 utilize multiple cores on Mac?
Excel for Mac now has multi-threaded calculation, as of the release of version 16.9 on 18-Jan-2018. To update, go to Help > Check for updates. Thanks for all of your comments and support for this feature.
As mentioned in earlier comments, if you encounter any issues, please send the details to us by clicking the smiley-face button in the top right corner of the Excel window.
Thanks – Steve K [MS Excel]
Jose G Machado commented
I was able to enable the cores of my Mac, There have been improved speed improvements in Excel, but the calculations, is that they are still very slow!
I saved the XLSX on a Windows Machine with mulit-threaded calcs enabled, as Steve K suggested then, opened in a fresh (restarted) Excel for Mac... It did indeed seem to be running 8 processors.
However, these are the calculation comparisons:
On the Windows Machine: 20 seconds
On the Mac with multiple processors (Activity Monitor 160%): 3 minutes, 50 seconds
On the same Mac single processor (Activity Monitor 100%): 1 minute, 5 seconds
The Windows machine and the Mac are similar spec (the Mac has 16Gb RAM vs 8Gb on the Dell)
Sadly, my experience is a significant deterioration in performance.
Thank you to the Excel team for their efforts in trying to solve this.
Typically I use Excel in Fusion so I can access multiple cores. My spreadsheets include multiple complex array formulas and many thousands of rows of data. Excel for Mac shows a noticeable difference in speed when processing the array formulas. I didn't time the differences however I opened my spreadsheet normally in Windows and waited for the formulas to calculate. I performed the same task on the Mac side and noticed Excel using all 4 processors. Prior to today it would take the Mac version 10-15 minutes to recalculate every time I entered new data. Today it felt like only a couple minutes, which is the performance I need to finally stop using Excel for Windows.
Another observation - I was able to enable the cores, however processing big calcs are MUCH slower, about 4x's slower on the calc.
The speed improvements I'm seeing are when copying large data sets, opening workbooks, switching between books/sheets, and scrolling. Those actions seem to be quicker, however not calculating, which is still unbearably slow!
I was able to enable 8 cores with processing, however it actually seems slower. I haven't seen a speed improvement yet, but i'm hopeful we're moving in the right direction!
(I should clarify, I have a 6-core, 12-thread processor)
I tested on some big files I work with. Very impressive performance improvements.
big operations are now over 10 times faster!! well done, finally...
Brett Gaspers commented
One other comment with our Excel model: we update the statusbar to tell the user how many iterations have been completed, but this Mac Excel build is not doing this. Works fine on both versions of Win Excel.
Brett Gaspers commented
We have a Excel forecast model that uses Monte Carlo simulation, so I ran a test of the model using 500 iterations. If you are not familiar with Monte Carlo, that means it calcs the entire model 500 times, recording the output results each time. The model also makes extensive use of VBA user-defined functions for time-series calculations.
Windows results below were run in a Parallels Win 10 Pro VM, Excel was set to use all 4 processors. Mac is on latest Sierra version. Used same Excel model as on the Windows side.
Here's the timing results comparison:
Win Excel 2010 1:48 (one minute, 48 seconds)
Win Excel 2016: 1:08 (did two runs, came out about the same)
Mac Excel 2016: did a number of runs, with different results each time:
Quit Excel, re-opened model
Interesting thing is that Mac Excel gets progressively slower when the Monte Carlo simulation is rerun. This build is clearly faster than what we were seeing on the old single-threaded version, but the progressive slowing is a little disturbing. Hope this is something that can be optimized out.
Testing.... Will post results by next week
Hi Steve K, Thanks. This is definitely faster (for me). I have a large spreadsheet, and had already used 171111 earlier this week, but not noticed (wasn't looking for any difference). I just refreshed my data source, after creating a Temp file just to prompt the multi-threaded calculation to be enabled. I re-ran my normal workflow, and can definitely see the performance improvements - in places. It's great to see Excel tell me its using 4 processors (finally), and Activity Monitor going up to 375% CPU utilization....but then drop back to 100-150% utilization. Overall, a definite improvement. It's not a 4x improvement for me overall, but makes my workflow and spreadsheet work much better.
Post an example spreadsheet for those of us without Windows Excel
its so slow its impossible to use excel on mac
thank u microsoft
You need to do the following to get the multicore version ...
Become an Office Insider now for Mac through Microsoft AutoUpdate on your Mac. To access AutoUpdate, start any Office 2016 for Mac application, and then select Check for Updates on the Help menu.
Office Insider Fast: Best for Insiders who want to use the earliest preview builds, released more frequently, to identify issues, provide feedback to help make Office great, and don’t mind a bit of risk using unsupported builds. By choosing the Fast level, you agree to the program’s terms, which supersede your agreement with Microsoft to use Office.
Just an update for those who have been chomping at the bit, I've used this all morning, and a performance improvement "might" be there, but it won't stagger you. I've used it all day, and the only super noticeable difference, is while calculating formulas, it doesn't tell you how many processors it's using :P maybe people won't complain if they don't know they're only getting single core.
Good luck all and keep fighting the good fight!
Hi Steve K... thanks for the update from team Excel - where can us long suffering users get info on these 'scenarios'. Its a bit of a waste of time to keep downloading updates in the vain hope of seeing an improvement in performance.
Very happy that you guys are working on it!
How do we get thst update?
Hi Everyone - it is true that multi-threaded recalculation is now available in the Excel for Mac Insiders Fast update (version 16.8 171111)!
Please note that there are some scenarios in which it is not expected that there will be a performance improvement, although in many cases there is a significant improvement in the amount of time it takes to recalculate.
We are still working on improving the behavior of this, so please send your feedback to us by using the smiley-face icon near the top right corner of Excel and let us know what you are experiencing.
Just loaded the latest update: Excel 2016 16.8 (171111) on MacBook Pro 2.7GHz Core i7 Restarted and compared with my old 2012 Core i5 iMac running Excel 2011. Calc time almost identical. (painful!)
Both show circa 100% in the Activity Monitor.
Prior to this latest update, the MacBook Pro Excel 2016) showed 160% in Activity Monitor but, seemed to be running even slower!
In short - based on my experience, we have made little progress here.
Kenneth Eisinger commented
Its updated if you are using the fast version. Can confirm full core usage