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What is Spreadsheet?

Updated: Aug 16, 2022


A worksheet is also known as spreadsheet which is an electronic sheet made up of rows and columns. It is used for planning a project or checking financial position of an organization. Spreadsheet usually refers to a computer program whereas worksheet refers to the actual document we create by using the spreadsheet program.

In other words we can say that electronic spreadsheet is a software package which accepts data in a tabular form shows data in a tabular form and serves many functions to perform calculations.

Spreadsheet Terminology

When we are working with a spreadsheet package we have to know some spreadsheet terminologies which are below:


A workbook is a collection of many worksheets. In a single workbook we can store information in an organized manner. By default a workbook opens with three worksheets and contains maximum of 255 worksheets.


A worksheet is a sheet made up of rows and columns. It is used for planning a project or financial documents of an organization.

Chart Sheet: Chart sheet is a separate sheet in a workbook that contains only graphs or charts. It is useful when we want to see a chart or tabular data separated from other type of data.

Row: A row is a horizontal block of cells that runs through the entire width of the worksheet. The first row is 1, the second, 2 and so on. There can be a maximum of 1048576 rows in an excel 2007 worksheet.

Column: A column is a vertical block of cells that runs through the entire worksheet. A worksheet contains 16384 columns. The first columns is A, the second is B and so on until we reach Z then comes column AA through XFD. The last column of the worksheet is XFD.

Cells: A cell is the intersection of a row and a column. Example the uppermost cells is A1 means intersection of column A and row 1. Cell G9 is the intersection of column G and row 9.

Formula: Formulas are equations that perform calculations on values in our worksheet. It is an order of values, names, cell reference, functions and operators in a cell that together give new values. A formula always begins with = (equal) sign.

Function: Functions are predefined formulas that take values, perform complex calculations by using a specific value in a particular order to give a result. They are used to simplify the formulas that perform lengthy or complex calculations.

Advantages of Spreadsheet:

  • Many built in function do the complex calculations easily.

  • Large volume of data can be handled easily.

  • A graphical representation of data is possible. With the help of graph and charts data can be interpreted easily.

  • Useful information can be imported or exported from/to other software packages, such as word and power point.

  • If entries are changed then formulas automatically calculate the new results.

Disadvantages of Spreadsheet:

  • It requires very large memory of a computer to perform complicated calculations and to plot graphs.

  • It has limited number of rows and columns in one worksheet.

  • It requires skilled user because small mistake in formula will give absurd results.

Applications of Spreadsheet:

  • Spreadsheets are used in the following applications:

  • Budgeting and forecasting

  • Scientific research

  • Financial accounting

  • Income tax and sales tax applications

  • Annual reports

  • Portfolio analysis

  • Determine the break even points in sales

  • Sales and purchase applications

  • Statistical analysis of database

  • Job estimation and cost accounting

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