VBA code writes to cells slowly when many ActiveX controls are invisible in Excel 2016

Symptoms

Consider the following scenario:

  • You are working in Excel for Office 365, Excel 2016 or a later version.
  • A worksheet contains many ActiveX controls that are set to be invisible.
  • You have VBA code that writes many formulas to cells.

In this scenario, Excel writes to the cells very slowly when you run the VBA code.

Example

  1. In an Excel 2016 worksheet, create 105 ActiveX controls as option buttons.

  2. Set the Visible property of the option buttons to False.

  3. Run the following VBA code:

    For row = 1 To 20000
    
        For col = 1 To 5
           Cells(row, col).Formula = "=Func()"
        Next
    Next
    

You notice that this code runs much slower than it does in earlier versions of Excel.

Cause

This issue occurs because of a design change in Excel. Because of this change, the following behavior occurs when VBA code writes a formula to a cell:

  • Excel makes invisible ActiveX controls visible.
  • The VBA code writes a formula to a cell. 
  • Excel makes the ActiveX controls invisible again.

Workaround

To work around this issue, use one of the following methods:

  • Review the code and architecture, and reassess whether you require as many ActiveX controls as you have.
  • Replace the ActiveX controls with Form Controls in affected workbooks.
  • Temporarily make the ActiveX controls visible when the code runs.

Status

Microsoft has confirmed that this is an issue in the products that are listed in the "Applies to" section.