Office 2013 Spreadsheet Compare – System Generated Changes

The following is a screenshot that shows the different types of changes listed in the results of a Spreadsheet Compare analysis:



Some of the options shown above may sound similar, as listed below:


SysGen Formulas

SysGen Formulas Errors


SysGen Names

SysGen Names Errors

SysGen stands for System Generated. System Generated changes are those that are not made directly by the user but made by the system (Excel) as a byproduct of a user change. System Generated changes are caused by a structural change made directly by the user, such as addition/deletion of rows/columns or renaming/deleting sheets. 

So a Formula change is when a user makes a change to the formula, whereas a System Generated Formula change is when a formula is changed by Excel. An example is when a row is deleted by the user. Excel will automatically change the formula to account for the row deletion by changing the references to cells, as all cells will have moved up one row. 

A change to a Name is when a user changes a Name, whereas a System Generated Name change refers a Name change made by Excel. For example, if a user deletes a row, a Name that is defined for range of cells under that row would change to account for the row deletion. Excel will change the name definition by changing the references to the cells that make up the named range. 

System Generated Name Errors and System Generated Formula Errors are errors that are caused by a System Generated change that results in an Excel error. The deletion of a sheet could cause an error in Names or Formulas that were referencing that sheet with a #REF! error.

For an overview of Spreadsheet Compare, visit

Comments (5)

  1. Kamil: Here’s how you can run it via command line.

    1. Create a text file with the path/name of File1 on line 1 and path/name of File2 on line2.
    2. Run a command with “SpreadsheetCompare.exe comparefiles.txt”

    The comparefiles.txt file will be deleted after the command is run.

  2. Meena: Unfortunately, there is no way to export results using the command line.

  3. Kamil N. says:

    That’s good overview!

    Have you tried to run this tool from command line?

  4. ltrAin says:

    when running the spreadsheet compare against to excel spreapsheets I’m getting the following error "exception has been thrown by the target of an invocation"