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Of the four basic types of sheets you’ll work with in Excel, worksheets are by far the most common. Worksheets contain cells, which are arranged in rows and columns, where you store data and create formulas to summarize that data. As noted in Table 2-1, Excel worksheets have a maximum of 256 columns and 65,536 rows. If you’re working with larger data sets, such as those generated by scientific experiments or a transaction tracking system in a busy sales organization, you should probably write the data to a text file and either process it in manageable chunks or use a more powerful, enterprise-worthy application to analyze the data.

Table 2-1: Excel Worksheets Can Hold a Lot of Data but Have Their Limits



Maximum rows


Maximum columns


Column width

255 characters

Row height

409 points

Maximum number of page breaks


Maximum number of scenarios

No maximum, but only 251 will be displayed in a scenario summary

Maximum number of changing cells in a scenario


Maximum number of changing cells in Solver


One of the most underused capabilities in Excel is the scenario, which lets you define alternative data sets for a worksheet. As noted in Table 2-1, each scenario can contain up to 32 changes. The advantages of scenarios are that you can define them quickly (by clicking Tools, Scenarios and using the controls in the Scenario Manager dialog box, shown in Figure 2-1), and you’re able to switch between alternative data sets without having to create a new worksheet to contain the speculative data. If you’re creating one new worksheet that contains 12 values, 3 of which change, scenarios probably won’t save you that much time. However, if you have a broad range of values (and combinations of values) that could change and you don’t want to keep track of separate worksheets for each possible combination, you can create a scenario for each combination and switch within the same worksheet.

Figure 2-1: The Scenario Manager dialog box helps you manage and present alternative data sets.

If you need to create a scenario with more than 32 changes, you should probably ceate a new worksheet to hold the data.

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Microsoft Excel 2003 Programming Inside Out
Microsoft Office Excel 2003 Programming Inside Out (Inside Out (Microsoft))
ISBN: 0735619859
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2006
Pages: 161

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