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What are the Advantages of Using an Excel Binary Workbook?

The excel files are generally filled with a lot of formulas, data, and objects that continue to expand in size. Larger files take a long time to open, get saved and occupy a huge space on the discs, or when attached to the emails. Through our blog, you will now learn how to reduce the size of your excel files so that your workbook loads faster.

In Microsoft Excel 2007, files can be saved by choosing the Save As option with several other formats and besides the xlsx format. The file formats that are available when you choose the Save As option will again depend on what kind of worksheet is active. An excel sheet that is generally saved as a Binary Workbook using the xlsb extension, is significantly smaller than the ones which are saved as an excel workbook.

Advantages of using the .xlsb format

A lot of users are unaware of the advantages and the benefits one could gain through the excel binary workbook format. The Excel binary workbook files help you in storing the information in the Binary format instead of the XML format. Since the xlsb files in the Excel workbook are Binary, they can be read and written a bit faster, making them useful for the larger spreadsheets. This also implies that the files saved in the xlsb format will have calculations done faster followed by their workbooks being really smaller.

It is believed that in Excel, the xlsx generally loads 4 times longer when compared to the xlsb, and saves 2 times slower followed by 1.5 times a bigger file. Reportedly a user from a well-known forum Stack Overflow tested on generated workbook with 10,000 rows followed by 1000 columns and that is equal to 10,000,000 (10*7) cells being simple chained is =+1 formula.

In short: .xlsx v/s .xlsb

  • The loading time is 165s v/s 43s
  • The saving time is 115s v/s 61s
  • The File size is 91MB v/s 65 MB

In addition to the security point of view, since the data has been formatted into the Binary system and is not saved in the XML format, the xlsb files will then be displayed as unreadable content when the user tries to change the extension of the file to the zip format.

The other advantages of the xlsb format:

  • The smaller binary files open much faster when compared to the Excel workbooks.
  • It offers potential cost savings as it reduces the disc space that is required to store a specific file, decreasing the bandwidth that is required to transport the files through emails or the other following networks.
  • Only excel workbooks that are smaller than 5MB are stored in one drive folder and will open only in the excel web application. Binary files are smaller.
  • The excel binary files have been encoded into the proprietary compressed file formats and not in open formats, in short, the XML site format.

The Disadvantages of Binary files

The binary files in Excel cannot be accessed by various programs that help in understanding the xlsx, xlsm formats. The users will have to come across several files previewing softwares in order to view the files that a user is unable to open. You will have to save the primary workbook in the xlsx or the xlsm file format and use the macros In case they are present within the file.

This blog post helped you learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of Excel binary workbooks. Stay tuned to Magoosh excel blogs for more info on Excel!

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