Understanding Workbooks and Worksheets

Excel enables you to create and edit workbooks . A workbook holds one or more worksheets (sometimes called spreadsheets or just sheets ). A worksheet is a collection of rows and columns that holds text and numbers . Anytime you create, open , or save an Excel file, you are working with a workbook. The workbook approach keeps you from having multiple files that relate to the same project ”instead, you can have all worksheets related to the same project in the same workbook (in one *.xls file). Your workbook name is the Excel name you assign when you save a file. You can save Excel worksheets and workbooks in HTML format if you want to maintain file-type consistency and if you ever want to embed your data in a Web page.


As with Word data, Excel often uses the term document to refer to a workbook file.

Blank Excel workbooks contain three worksheets named Sheet1 , Sheet2 , and Sheet3 , as shown at the bottom of Figure 43.1. When you click a sheet's tab, Excel brings that sheet into view. If a workbook contains several worksheets, you might have to click one of the sheet-scrolling buttons to view additional worksheet tabs. Each column has a heading; heading names start with A , B , and so on. Each row has a heading, starting with 1 , 2 , and so on. The intersection of a row and column, called a cell , also has a name that comes from combining the row name and column number, such as C4 or A1 . A1 is always the top-left cell on any worksheet. The gridlines help you to distinguish between cells , but you can turn off gridlines at any time from the Tools, Options, View page option labeled Gridlines.


No matter how large your monitor is, you will see only a small amount of the worksheet area. Use the scrollbars to see or edit information in the offscreen cells, such as cell M17 .

Every cell in your workbook contains a unique name or address to which you can refer when you are tabulating data. The cell address of the active cell (the cell that the cursor is in) appears at the left of the Formula bar. In Figure 43.1, the box reads A1 because the cursor is in cell A1 .

When you move your mouse pointer across Excel's screen, notice that the pointer becomes a cross when you point it to a cell area. The cross returns to its pointer shape when you point to another part of the Excel work area.

Inserting Worksheets in a Workbook

Just as Word enables you to edit multiple documents in memory at the same time, Excel enables you to edit multiple worksheets simultaneously (but those worksheets must all appear in the same workbook).

To insert a new worksheet into your workbook, right-click the worksheet tab that is to fall after the new worksheet. Select Insert from the pop-up menu. Excel displays the Insert dialog box, as shown in Figure 43.2, on which you can double-click the Worksheet icon and press OK. The Insert dialog box contains several kinds of items that you can add to a workbook, but worksheets are the most common items you add. The Insert, Worksheet command also inserts a new worksheet.

Figure 43.2. Add a new worksheet to your workbook.



If you don't like the default worksheet names ( Sheet1 , Sheet2 , and so on), rename them by right-clicking the sheet name and selecting Rename. Type the new name. When you press Enter, the worksheet tab displays the new name.

Deleting Worksheets from a Workbook

Situations arise when you only need a single worksheet in a workbook. You might want to track your monthly household budget, for example; such a budget rarely requires multiple worksheets. For your budget, the workbook is basically the same as the worksheet, but you should pare down excess worksheets instead of wasting memory on them. Excel makes it easy to delete excess sheets. Just right-click the tab of the sheet you want to delete and select Delete from the pop-up menu.


You can keep multiple workbooks open at once and move between them by pressing Ctrl+F6 (the same keystroke that moves between multiple Word documents in memory). Multiple workbooks are often difficult to keep track of until you become familiar with Excel and its worksheets. Display your Window menu to see a list of open workbooks if you want to review the ones you have opened.

Working with Multiple Worksheets

To specify the maximum number of worksheets that a workbook is to hold, select Tools, Options, click the General tab, and enter a number in the Sheets in New field labeled Sheets in New Workbook. When you create a new workbook, that workbook contains the number of sheets you requested . As you can see from Figure 43.3, Excel's Options dialog box resembles Word's. Many of the options are identical in both products, as well as throughout the Office suite.

Figure 43.3. The Options dialog box enables you to specify how many worksheets to include in your workbooks.



You can refer to a specific cell located within a workbook by prefacing the cell with its workbook name, followed by an exclamation point (!), to refer to a specific worksheet's cell. For example, Sheet3!G7 refers to the seventh row of column G inside the worksheet named Sheet3 . Notice that you work from right-to-left when deciphering a reference such as Sheet3!G2 .

One interesting workbook feature is the capability to rearrange worksheets within a workbook, and even to move worksheets between two or more workbooks.

If you don't like the current order of the worksheets in your workbook (the worksheet tabs indicate the worksheet ordering), click and drag a worksheet's tag (the mouse cursor changes to let you know you have grabbed the worksheet) to fall before another sheet's tab. If you work with two or three particular worksheets the majority of the time, move those worksheets together so that you can move between them easily.


Make a copy of (instead of moving) a worksheet by pressing Ctrl before you click and drag a worksheet from one location to another. Excel creates a new worksheet and uses the original worksheet for the new worksheet's data. Before you make extensive changes to a worksheet, you might want to copy it so that you can revert to the old version should anything go wrong.

Working with Multiple Workbooks

As your workbook fills up with worksheets, you need a way to manage those worksheets and move from one to another. When you then want to copy or move information from one to another worksheet, you can easily do so.

If you need to move a worksheet from one workbook to another, open both workbooks and select Window, Arrange, Tiled to display both worksheets, as shown in Figure 43.4. Drag one of the worksheet tabs to the other workbook to move the sheet. To copy instead of move, hold Ctrl while you drag the sheet name.

Figure 43.4. Display both workbooks if you want to move or copy worksheets or cells between them.


Sams Teach Yourself Office Productivity All in One
Sams Teach Yourself Office Productivity All in One (Sams Teach Yourself All in One)
ISBN: 0672325349
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2003
Pages: 474
Authors: Greg Perry

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