Excel Spreadsheet-What Users Should Know

10 min read|Last Updated: February 10th, 2024|Categories: excel|
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“The global economy is built on two things: the internal combustion engine and Microsoft Excel. Never forget this.”
— Kevin Hector, Twitter

The quote simply says it all. Some say the business world has a love/hate relationship with spreadsheets. That’s Because spreadsheet programs are one of the most commonly used software around the world.

There are different spreadsheet software and applications available on the market today. However, MS Excel and google sheets are currently very popular.

The spreadsheet is probably the first thing you see once you open the Excel programme. Did you know that the spreadsheet has its own terminology? Starting with ‘Absolute cell reference’ and finishing with ‘Worksheet’. 

This goes to show how powerful and in demand spreadsheets are. But what is a spreadsheet exactly, and what does it do?

What is a Spreadsheet?

One way to define something is to look at it comparatively. In other words, to find differences and similarities by comparing it to something else. However, before diving into compare and contrast, let’s see how a spreadsheet has been defined. We managed to extract two brief definitions of the spreadsheet. 

“A spreadsheet is a software used to perform mathematical calculations on data. It is also used to generate reports and data visualization.”

“A spreadsheet is made up of rows and columns. Columns are vertical and rows are horizontal. It is used to calculate, store and sort different types of data.”

In the next part, we are going to compare a Spreadsheet with a Worksheet, Workbook, Database, and Table. Our aim is not only to gain a better understanding of the Spreadsheet but also to answer some common questions. 

Spreadsheet Vs. Database

Databases handle huge volumes of complex data. Whereas the spreadsheet has record limitations, this means you are able to see the data at a glance. The data in a spreadsheet is stored in a cell which can be manipulated, edited and formatted within that cell. So, a spreadsheet is different in the way it stores data which might be more static compared to a database which is more relational. For instance, a database can contain records from external tables and accommodates many sorts of data.  Remember these two terms might be used interchangeably, yet they have their differences, and each has its functions, pros, and cons. 

Spreadsheet Vs. Worksheet  

A spreadsheet is also called a worksheet. The worksheet is the grid on which you fill in the information. Simply put, a worksheet is a single spreadsheet. It is made up of several rows and columns. So, the spreadsheet can be a collection of worksheets. As mentioned before, both these terms are used interchangeably since they are known to be close in how they are defined. 

Spreadsheet Vs. Workbook

Considering the above definition, a workbook is formed by a combination of separate spreadsheets. So when you open the Excel program, you are actually opening a workbook. Therefore,