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In Google Sheets I have quite a large number of relatively complex array formulae in many cells that takes ages to complete calculating.

Does the speed of calculation depend on my PC resources, or are calculations processed in Google's servers?

2 Answers 2

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Short answer

The recalculation speed depends mostly on the local resources.

Explanation

On Google Sheets, most of the built-in functions are run on the client (browser), just some functions like IMPORTHTML, IMPORTXML, IMPORTDATA, IMPORTRANGE, GOOGLEFINANCE require access to the Internet in order to be executed, as well the custom functions because they require Google Apps Script which is run on the Google servers.

You could use something called Google Chrome timeline-tool to check your specific case.

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The operations are mostly done on the servers as to stay caught up with other participants and I'll assume long calculations are no exception. If you're looking for powerful spreadsheets I'd recommend not using cloud services for reliable processing speeds. And if the purpose of the spreadsheet is importantly for sharing with others there is more professional programs for spreadsheets that are built for things like this

There is also a way to test if they are running on your client or being passed through the server, with chrome you can run an audit (via web inspection f11) to see what is being used by what and during that audit if you see anything running very high you can tell that it's your machine.
Or you could just check the task manager processes tab(if you're running windows) to see what's using the most CPU

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  • Could you guide me a bit on how to find this web inspector? is it [Ctrl]+[Shift]+[i]? Where should I look at?
    – ZygD
    Jun 20, 2015 at 16:19
  • Pretty sure this answer is wrong. It says the opposite of the accepted answer and has no supporting resources.
    – Patrick
    Jan 5, 2022 at 0:14
  • The main reason provided in this answer doesn't make much sense. The Sheet doesn't need to do operations on the server to 'stay caught up with other participants' if it just saves the locally-computed values to the cloud along with the user-input values. Saving all values to the cloud without discriminating based on whether they were locally-computer or user-input seems like the most elegant solution and also the most likely.
    – Patrick
    Jan 5, 2022 at 0:18

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