Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
How big is a worksheet?
It’s interesting to stop and think about the actual size of a worksheet. Do the arithmetic (16,384 ×
1,048,576), and you’ll see that a worksheet has 17,179,869,184 cells. Remember that this is in just one
worksheet. A single workbook can hold more than one worksheet.
If you’re using a 1600 x 1200 video mode with the default row heights and column widths, you can see
24 columns and 49 rows (or 1,176 cells) at a time — which is about .0000068 percent of the entire
worksheet. In other words, more than 14.6 million screens of information reside within a single
If you entered a single digit into each cell at the relatively rapid clip of one cell per second, it would
take you over 500 years, nonstop, to fill up a worksheet. To print the results of your efforts would
require more than 36 million sheets of paper — a stack about 12,000 feet high. (That’s ten Empire
State Buildings stacked on top of each other.)
As you might suspect, filling an entire workbook with values is impossible. It’s not even close to being
possible. Even if you use the 64-bit version of Excel, you’d soon run out of memory, and Excel would
probably crash.
The real value of using multiple worksheets in a workbook isn’t access to more cells. Rather,
multiple worksheets enable you to organize your work better. Back in the old days, when a file
comprised a single worksheet, developers wasted a lot of time trying to organize the worksheet to
hold their information efficiently. Now you can store information on any number of worksheets
and still access it instantly by clicking a sheet tab.
By default, every new workbook starts out with three worksheets. You can easily add a
new sheet when necessary, so you really don’t need to start with three sheets. You may
want to change this default to a single sheet. To change this option, use the
Office➜Excel Options command, click the General tab, and change the setting for the
option labeled Include This Many Sheets.
As you know, a worksheet cell can hold a constant value or the result of a formula. The value may
be a number, a date, a Boolean value (True or False), or text. Every worksheet also has an
invisible drawing layer, which lets you insert graphic objects, such as charts, shapes, SmartArt,
UserForm controls, pictures, and other embedded objects.
You have complete control over the column widths and row heights — in fact, you can even hide
rows and columns (as well as entire worksheets). You can specify any font size, and you have
complete control over colors. You can display text in a cell vertically (or at an angle) and even
wrap it around to occupy multiple lines. In addition, you can merge a group of cells to create a
single larger cell.
In the past, Excel was limited to a palette of 56 colors. Beginning with Excel 2007, the
number of colors has been virtually unlimited. In addition, Excel 2007 introduced
document themes. A single click lets you apply a new theme to a workbook, which can give
it an entirely different look.
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