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How would I convert a complex, multi sheet 256mb excel file to PHP?

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Last Modified: 2015-02-02
We have a very complex excel spreadsheet that has kind of gotten out of hand. It's currently over 256 MB in size and takes over 1/2 hour to open on an Intel i3 with 8gb of ram and a zippy AMD SSD SATA drive. A full half hour. Ugh.

This file has multiple calls to several different sheets for computing dates, times, and more fancy calculations.

I have heard from others that there is a way to upload this file to our server and keep the calculations but speed up the process 1000x by using PHP. Is that true?

I have general PHP experience using My SQL and can code up a site pretty easily, but the conversion is where I'll need the most help. If that's enough info, please let me know. If not, just ask! I've got six months to put this together which I'm assuming is plenty of time. Thanks!
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Principal Analyst
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It runs quite a bit faster when I put it to Manual calculations. Is there a way to trace the calcs to see what is taking up the most time?
SimonPrincipal Analyst
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> Is there a way to trace the calcs to see what is taking up the most time?

See this MS Office Dev Centre link for useful info on calculation speeds.
Neil RussellTechnical Development Lead

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Ensure that EVERYONE that ever uses this sheet understands that you are running on MANUAL CALC mode.  I know of a man who lost his job when he submitted a revised budget, up by near £0.4M, because his last revisions were made and not recalculated.......
SimonPrincipal Analyst
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+1 on making sure workbook is calculated before quoting results.

Use the option 'always calculate before save' and/or add a large 'calculate now' button.

I also like Neilsr's suggestion of breaking the workbook into separate smaller workbooks if at all possible so you're only opening the workbook with the business logic in and allowing it to refer to closed workbooks for reference values. With a bit of testing you'd see which of the other workbooks could be opened to speed up the referencing - e.g. getting values from closed workbooks can be slower, so if 100s or 1000s of values are being looked up it is better to open the source workbook.
Martin LissSocial distance - Don't touch your face - Wash your hands for 20 seconds
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