Worksheets and Workbooks in Excel

Excel 2016 showing tab colors.

A worksheet or sheet is a single page in a file created with an electronic spreadsheet program such as Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets. A workbook is the name given to an Excel file and contains one or more worksheets.

So, strictly speaking, when you open an electronic spreadsheet program it loads an empty workbook file consisting of one or more blank worksheets for you to use.

Instructions in this article apply to Excel 2016, 2013, 2010, Excel for Mac,Excel 365/Online, and Google Sheets.

Worksheet Details

A worksheet is used to store, manipulate, and display data.

The basic storage unit for data in a worksheet is a rectangular-shaped cell arranged in a grid pattern in every worksheet.

Individual cells of data are identified and organized using the vertical column letters and horizontal row numbers of a worksheet which create a cell reference — such as A1, D15, or Z467.

Worksheet specifications for current versions of Excel include:

  • 1,048,576 rows per worksheet
  • 16,384 columns per worksheet
  • 17,179,869,184 cells per worksheet
  • A limit on the number of sheets per file based on the amount of memory available on the computer

For Google Sheets:

  • 256 columns per sheet
  • The maximum number of cells for all worksheets in a file is 400,000
  • 200 worksheets per spreadsheet file

Worksheet Names

In both Microsoft Excel and Google Spreadsheets, each worksheet has a name. By default, the worksheets are named Sheet1, Sheet2, Sheet3, and so on, but you can change these names.

Workbook Details

  • Add worksheets to a workbook using the using the context menu or the New Sheet/Add Sheet icon (+) next to the current sheet tabs.
  • It is possible to delete or to hide individual worksheets in a workbook.
  • Rename individual worksheets and to change worksheet tab colors to make it easier to identify individual sheets in a workbook using the context menu.
  • Change from one worksheet to another in a workbook by clicking the sheet tab at the bottom of the screen.
  • In Excel, use the following shortcut key combinations to switch between worksheets:
    • Ctrl + PgUp (page up) — move to the right
    • Ctrl + PgDn (page down) — move to the left
  • For Google Spreadsheets, the shortcut key combinations to switch between worksheets are:
    • Ctrl + Shift + PgUp — move to the right
    • Ctrl + Shift + PgDn — move to the left