How to Disable Hardware Graphics Acceleration in Excel: A Step-by-Step Guide

Disabling hardware graphics acceleration in Excel can help solve display and performance issues. Here’s a quick rundown: Open Excel, go to File > Options > Advanced, scroll down to the Display section, and check the box for “Disable hardware graphics acceleration”. Click OK to apply the changes. That’s it! Now, let’s dive deeper into why and how you might want to do this.

After disabling hardware graphics acceleration, Excel will no longer use your computer’s graphics hardware to render spreadsheets. This can improve compatibility with certain systems and resolve issues like flickering, artifacts, or laggy performance.


Have you ever experienced sluggishness or glitches while using Excel? If so, you might be dealing with a graphics acceleration issue. Graphics acceleration is a feature that uses computer hardware to render images and animations in applications. While this usually enhances performance, it can sometimes cause problems, especially on older computers or those with outdated graphics drivers.

This is where disabling hardware graphics acceleration in Excel becomes relevant. It’s a simple tweak that can make a significant difference in how smoothly Excel runs on your machine. This article is geared towards anyone who uses Excel, whether you’re a data analyst crunching numbers, a student organizing a project, or a business professional preparing a report. Understanding how to adjust this setting can save you from frustration and make your work more efficient.

Related: How to Add Developer Tab in Excel: A Step-by-Step Guide

Step by step tutorial to Disable Hardware Graphics Acceleration in Excel

Before we begin, it’s important to know that following these steps will change how Excel uses your computer’s resources to display graphics.

Step 1: Open Excel Options

Start by opening Excel and clicking on the File menu, then select Options.

This will open the Excel Options window, where you can adjust various settings for your Excel application.

Step 2: Go to the Advanced Tab

In the Excel Options window, click on the Advanced tab on the left side.

The Advanced tab contains a range of settings that control how Excel behaves, including options for editing, displaying, and calculating data.

Step 3: Scroll down to the Display section

Once you’re in the Advanced tab, scroll down until you find the Display section.

The Display section holds settings that pertain specifically to how Excel shows content on your screen.

Step 4: Check the box for “Disable hardware graphics acceleration”

In the Display section, look for the checkbox labeled “Disable hardware graphics acceleration” and click it to enable this option.

By checking this box, you’re instructing Excel to stop using your computer’s GPU for rendering graphics, which can help resolve any compatibility or performance issues you’ve been encountering.

Step 5: Click OK to apply the changes

After enabling the “Disable hardware graphics acceleration” option, click OK at the bottom of the Excel Options window to apply the changes.

Excel will now use your CPU instead of your GPU to render graphics, which might not be as fast but can be more stable on certain systems.


Improved stabilityDisabling hardware graphics acceleration can lead to a more stable Excel experience, especially on older or less powerful computers.
CompatibilitySome systems, particularly with older graphics hardware, may not support acceleration well, leading to a smoother experience with it turned off.
TroubleshootingTurning off graphics acceleration can be a useful step in troubleshooting display or performance issues in Excel.


Reduced performanceWithout hardware acceleration, Excel may run slower, particularly when dealing with complex graphics or large spreadsheets.
Not a fix for allDisabling this setting isn’t a catch-all solution and might not resolve issues unrelated to graphics rendering.
Dependence on CPUWith graphics acceleration disabled, Excel relies more on your computer’s CPU, which could be a drawback if your CPU is already under heavy load.

Additional Information

It’s essential to keep in mind that hardware graphics acceleration is generally a beneficial feature. It allows Excel to offload some of the heavy lifting to your computer’s GPU, which can significantly improve performance. So why would someone want to disable it? Well, not all hardware is created equal. Older computers, or those with integrated graphics, may struggle with acceleration enabled. This can lead to a range of issues, from minor annoyances like flickering cells to more severe problems such as Excel crashing or freezing.

Furthermore, if you’re in an environment with managed IT services, there might be restrictions on updating drivers or hardware. In these cases, disabling hardware graphics acceleration could be a practical workaround. Remember, this is not a permanent change. If you find that disabling hardware graphics acceleration is causing more harm than good, or if you’ve upgraded your hardware or drivers, you can always reverse the process by unchecking the same box.


  1. Open Excel Options.
  2. Go to the Advanced Tab.
  3. Scroll down to the Display section.
  4. Check the box for “Disable hardware graphics acceleration”.
  5. Click OK to apply the changes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why would I want to disable hardware graphics acceleration?

Disabling hardware graphics acceleration can resolve display and performance issues, particularly on older or less powerful computers.

Will disabling hardware graphics acceleration affect my Excel data?

No, your data will be unaffected. This setting only changes how Excel displays and renders graphics.

Can I re-enable hardware graphics acceleration if I change my mind?

Absolutely! Just follow the same steps and uncheck the “Disable hardware graphics acceleration” box.

Does disabling hardware graphics acceleration affect other programs?

No, this change is specific to Excel and does not impact other applications on your computer.

Will disabling hardware graphics acceleration make Excel run faster?

It can make Excel run more smoothly if you’re experiencing graphics-related issues, but it may slow down performance in other areas.


In conclusion, while hardware graphics acceleration can be a powerful feature in Excel, it’s not always the best fit for every user or system. Understanding how to disable hardware graphics acceleration in Excel is a valuable skill for anyone looking to optimize their experience with the program.

Whether you’re troubleshooting a specific issue or simply trying to get the most out of an older computer, this little tweak could make a big difference. Remember, technology is about making your life easier, so don’t be afraid to adjust settings to suit your needs.