How To Decide When to Use Worksheets & Workbooks in Excel

Worksheets and workbooks: these are considered mumbo jumbo jargon for someone that is not that familiar with Microsoft Excel. To make things clearer for all of you that find these terms confusing. A worksheet is an actual spreadsheet and is usually found under a workbook that contains multiple worksheets. With this simple explanation you can already determine how to use it correctly?  Well, that is both right and wrong. What you want to do is to learn how and when to use worksheets and workbooks. Here are some things you will want to know about it.

  • Worksheets. When you open a new worksheet or when Excel launches with a new worksheet displayed, this is actually a workbook already since a workbook contains worksheets, and these worksheets are what you will need to create the spreadsheets you will use for whatever you need to get done. For instance, say you want to create a spreadsheet of the monthly budget of a business then you can do it in one spreadsheet under a specific workbook. To find out the truth, simply create a new spreadsheet and save the file. If you are using MS Excel 2007, simply click on the MS Office logo at the top left corner of the screen and select “save as”. You will notice that your options are limited to saving the spreadsheet as a workbook and only a workbook.
  • Worksheets aplenty. Now that you know that worksheets are within the scope of a workbook, using them in for multiple spreadsheets is another story altogether. Basically, you have to understand it this way, you can actually use multiple worksheets, in this case spreadsheets, under a workbook for data that is relevant to each and every worksheet under the workbook. For instance, say you are creating the whole financial projections of your company. One on worksheet, you can have the expenses. The second worksheet can be the revenue streams. The third could be capitalization costs. The next worksheet could be the overall projections that will use the data of the first three worksheets in order to compute for the figures on that final worksheet. This is how to use multiple worksheets. On the other hand, if you are creating multiple worksheets that are irrelevant to each other, then you should use a separate workbook for each worksheet instead of mixing them all up under a single workbook.
  • Scenarios. You know how to use multiple worksheets under a single workbook already, right? Well, another thing that you should know is that you should never create scenarios for your spreadsheets under a single workbook. For instance, say you are creating your financial projections but want to include different scenarios based on possible future circumstances then you should not place all the scenarios under one workbook. Instead, separate each scenario by using multiple workbooks. This will make analyzing the data easier and less confusing.

You may still be baffled. All you have to do is reread this article again and start using MS Excel. As you go through the motions, you will better understand the entire article and the terms mentioned here.


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