How to Quickly Fix ‘Out of Memory’ Errors in VBA in 3 Minutes (Excel)

Written by Kasper Langmann

When working with Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) in Excel, you may occasionally encounter the dreaded ‘Out of Memory’ error. This error typically arises when the system runs out of memory to execute the tasks at hand, which can be a significant hindrance to your productivity. However, fear not! There are quick and efficient ways to resolve this issue, and this guide will walk you through them.

Understanding the ‘Out of Memory’ Error

Before diving into the solutions, it’s crucial to understand what causes the ‘Out of Memory’ error in VBA. This error is usually a result of Excel attempting to execute a task that requires more memory than is available in your system. This could be due to a variety of reasons, such as running too many applications simultaneously, working with large datasets, or using complex VBA codes.

While Excel has been designed to handle large amounts of data efficiently, there are limits to its capacity. When these limits are exceeded, Excel may fail to allocate memory for new tasks, leading to the ‘Out of Memory’ error. Understanding these underlying causes can help you prevent the error from recurring in the future.

Quick Fixes for ‘Out of Memory’ Error

Now that we have a grasp of what causes the ‘Out of Memory’ error, let’s explore some quick fixes that can help you get back on track in no time.

1. Close Unnecessary Applications

One of the simplest ways to free up memory is by closing unnecessary applications running on your system. Each application you run consumes a portion of your system’s memory. By closing applications that are not currently in use, you can free up memory for Excel to execute its tasks.

It’s also a good practice to restart your system periodically. This can help clear any memory leaks caused by applications and improve the overall performance of your system.

2. Reduce Workbook Size

If you’re working with large datasets, reducing the size of your workbook can help alleviate the ‘Out of Memory’ error. This can be achieved by deleting unnecessary data, using Excel’s data compression features, or splitting your data across multiple workbooks.

Another effective strategy is to use Excel’s ‘Data Model’ feature, which allows you to work with large amounts of data without directly loading it into your workbook. This can significantly reduce the memory usage of your workbook and prevent ‘Out of Memory’ errors.

3. Optimize VBA Code

Complex VBA codes can consume a significant amount of memory, leading to ‘Out of Memory’ errors. By optimizing your VBA code, you can reduce its memory usage and improve its performance.

Some strategies for optimizing VBA code include avoiding unnecessary loops, using variables efficiently, and releasing objects when they’re no longer needed. It’s also a good practice to use Excel’s built-in functions whenever possible, as they’re usually more efficient than custom VBA code.

Advanced Solutions for ‘Out of Memory’ Error

If the quick fixes don’t resolve the ‘Out of Memory’ error, there are more advanced solutions you can try. These solutions require a deeper understanding of Excel and VBA, but they can be highly effective in resolving persistent ‘Out of Memory’ errors.

1. Increase Virtual Memory

Your system uses a portion of your hard drive as virtual memory when it runs out of physical memory. By increasing the size of your virtual memory, you can provide more memory for Excel to execute its tasks.

However, keep in mind that increasing virtual memory can slow down your system, as accessing data from the hard drive is slower than accessing data from physical memory. Therefore, this solution should be used sparingly and only as a last resort.

2. Use 64-bit Excel

If you’re using a 32-bit version of Excel, upgrading to a 64-bit version can significantly increase the amount of memory available for your tasks. The 64-bit version of Excel can handle much larger datasets and more complex VBA codes than the 32-bit version.

However, keep in mind that upgrading to a 64-bit version of Excel may require you to update your VBA code, as some code written for the 32-bit version may not work correctly in the 64-bit version.

3. Use External Data Sources

If you’re working with large datasets, using external data sources can help reduce the memory usage of your workbook. Instead of loading all your data into your workbook, you can store it in an external database and access it as needed.

This approach not only reduces the memory usage of your workbook but also allows you to work with much larger datasets than Excel can handle on its own. However, this solution requires a good understanding of databases and SQL, so it may not be suitable for all users.


While the ‘Out of Memory’ error in VBA can be frustrating, there are several ways to resolve it quickly and efficiently. By understanding what causes the error and applying the appropriate solutions, you can prevent it from hindering your productivity and continue working with Excel smoothly.

Remember, the key to preventing ‘Out of Memory’ errors is to manage your system’s memory efficiently. By closing unnecessary applications, optimizing your VBA code, and using Excel’s features wisely, you can maximize the performance of your system and avoid ‘Out of Memory’ errors.