Most of us sooner or later get hit by one or more of the dreaded messages “**Out of Memory**” or “**Excel cannot complete this task with available resources**” or “**Not enough System Resources/Memory to Display Completely**” , regardless of how much RAM or how big a swap-file you have.

Excel’s usable memory has been increasing steadily with each version:

- Excel 2003: 1 Gigabyte of working set memory
- Excel 2007: 2 Gigabytes of virtual memory
- Excel 2010, Excel 2013 and Excel 2016 32-bit: 2 Gigabytes of virtual memory
- Excel 2010, Excel 2013 and Excel 2016 64-bit: 131072 Gigabytes of virtual memory

Although the introduction of the 64-bit versions of Excel in theory removed any real limitation many people were not able to switch to 64-bit Excel because

- Most OCX controls are only available in 32-bit
- Many third party addins are only available in 32-bit

But the need for larger usable memory has also been increasing:

- Excel models seem to get larger every year
- Each successive Excel version uses more memory than the previous version
- PowerPivot and other BI tools need a lot of memory

So earlier this year the Excel team announced and made available a change to 32-bit Excel 2013 and 2016:

## Large Address Aware (LAA) capability change for Excel

**If you are using a 64-bit version of Windows this change doubles available virtual memory for 32-bit Excel 2013 and 2016 to 4 Gigabytes.**

**If you are using a 32-bit version of Windows then this change can increase virtual memory for Excel 2013 and and 2016 to 3 Gigabytes, BUT:**

- With 32-bit Windows you need to enable the /3GB boot switch
- This switch halves the amount of memory (from 2GB to 1 GB) available to 32-bit Windows.

This LAA change was introduced in updates in May and June 2016:

- For Excel 2013 you need to be using Build 15.0.4833 or later.
- For Excel 2016 Office 365 you need to be using Build 16.0.6868.2060 or later
- For Excel 2016 MSI you need to be using Build 16.0.4394.1000 or later

For more details on the LAA change see this Knowledge Base article

## Excel Memory Checking Tool

Finding out how much virtual memory Excel is actually using, and what the current maximum limit is for your installation, is surprisingly difficult.

- Task Manager only shows working set memory, which is not the same thing as virtual memory.
- Process Explorer can show virtual memory used, but you have to add an additional column.

And I have not found a readily available tool that tells you what Excel’s maximum usable memory is. **So I decided to create one using Windows API calls and VBA.
Here are a few examples of the output:**

**Excel 2013 32-bit with 64-bit Windows: 4GB**

**Excel 2016 32-bit with 32-bit Windows without the /3GB boot switch: 2GB**

**Excel 2016 64-bit with 64-bit Windows: 131072 GB**

## You can download the ShowMemory2 tool from here or here

Let me know of any problems!