How to Turn on Automatic Calculation in Excel: A Step-by-Step Guide

Turning on Automatic Calculation in Excel is a breeze! Simply go to the ‘Formulas’ tab on the ribbon, click on ‘Calculation Options’, and select ‘Automatic’. Voila! Now, any changes you make to your data will automatically update any calculations or formulas in your spreadsheet. No more pressing F9 every time you need to refresh!

Step by Step Tutorial: How to Turn on Automatic Calculation in Excel

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty, let’s establish what we’re trying to achieve here. When you enable automatic calculation in Excel, any formulas you’ve entered will automatically update their results whenever you change the data they’re based on. This saves you the hassle of manually recalculating everything. Let’s get started!

Step 1: Open your Excel workbook

Open the Excel workbook where you want automatic calculation enabled.

Opening your workbook is the first step in any Excel task. Make sure you have the correct file open before you proceed to the next steps.

Step 2: Go to the ‘Formulas’ tab

Click on the ‘Formulas’ tab on the Excel ribbon at the top of the page.

The ‘Formulas’ tab is where all the magic happens when it comes to dealing with calculations, functions, and formulas in Excel.

Step 3: Click on ‘Calculation Options’

In the ‘Formulas’ tab, look for the ‘Calculation Options’ button and click on it.

The ‘Calculation Options’ button will open a drop-down menu where you can select different calculation modes.

Step 4: Select ‘Automatic’

From the drop-down menu, choose ‘Automatic’ to turn on automatic calculation.

Once you click ‘Automatic’, Excel will immediately begin recalculating any formulas based on changed data, ensuring that your results are always up to date.

After completing these steps, you’ll notice that Excel automatically recalculates your formulas whenever you change the data they depend on. This ensures that your spreadsheet is always showing the most current information, making your work more efficient and accurate.

Tips for How to Turn on Automatic Calculation in Excel

  • If you have a large spreadsheet, automatic calculation may slow down your workbook. Consider using manual calculation if you’re working with a lot of data.
  • If you’re collaborating on a shared workbook, ensure that everyone is aware that automatic calculation is enabled to avoid confusion.
  • Remember that some functions, like TODAY() or RAND(), will update every time the sheet recalculates, which could affect your data.
  • If you ever need to force a calculation, you can still press F9 even with automatic calculation turned on.
  • Keep an eye on the status bar at the bottom of Excel; it will show “Calculating” when it’s updating formulas, which can be a handy indicator that everything is working as it should.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between automatic and manual calculation in Excel?

Automatic calculation updates your results as soon as you change the data, while manual calculation requires you to refresh the calculations manually, usually by pressing F9.

Can I switch back to manual calculation after turning on automatic calculation?

Yes, you can switch between automatic and manual calculation modes at any time by following the same steps and choosing ‘Manual’ instead of ‘Automatic’.

Will turning on automatic calculation affect my existing formulas?

No, it won’t change your formulas; it will only change how and when they are calculated.

Is there a shortcut to turn on automatic calculation?

There’s no direct shortcut to switch calculation modes, but you can press Alt + M + X to access the ‘Calculation Options’ drop-down quickly.

Why isn’t my Excel automatically calculating even after I turned it on?

There could be several reasons—check if your workbook is set to manual calculation, if there are circular references, or if your formulas are entered correctly.


  1. Open your Excel workbook.
  2. Click on the ‘Formulas’ tab.
  3. Click on ‘Calculation Options’.
  4. Select ‘Automatic’.


In the world of spreadsheets, efficiency is key. Turning on automatic calculation in Excel is a simple yet powerful way to streamline your data management. By allowing Excel to do the heavy lifting, you free up valuable time to focus on analysis and decision-making. Remember, though, with great power comes great responsibility. Keep an eye on performance and be aware that every change will trigger a recalculation. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a spreadsheet newbie, mastering this function can take your Excel game to the next level. So go ahead, give it a try, and watch as your spreadsheet becomes a dynamic, responsive tool in your data arsenal. Who knew a few clicks could make such a difference?

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