Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
The Workings of Workbooks
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
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).
Having access to more cells isn’t the real value of using multiple worksheets in a workbook.
Rather, multiple worksheets are valuable because they enable you to organize your work better.
Back in the old days, when a spreadsheet file consisted of 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.
You have complete control over the column widths and row heights, and you can even hide rows
and columns (as well as entire worksheets). You can display the contents of a cell vertically (or at
an angle) and even wrap around to occupy multiple lines. In addition, you can merge cells
together to form a larger cell.
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, choose the
File➜Options command, click the General tab, and change the setting for the option
labeled Include This Many Sheets.
A chart sheet holds a single chart. Many users ignore chart sheets, preferring to use embedded
charts, which are stored on the worksheet’s drawing layer. Using chart sheets is optional, but
they make it a bit easier to locate a particular chart, and they prove especially useful for
presentations. I discuss embedded charts (or floating charts on a worksheet) later in this chapter.
Macro sheets and dialog sheets
This section discusses two obsolete Excel features that continue to be supported.