Difference Between Excel Workbook And Excel WorkSheet


Microsoft Excel is a powerful spreadsheet software that consists of various components, including workbooks and worksheets. This software tool has become an essential part of many workplaces, academic settings and personal projects. Well, let us talk about, Excel Workbook And Excel Worksheet in the context of their purpose and functionality.

What Is Excel WorkSheet?

An Excel worksheet is a spreadsheet software for organizing, analyzing and presenting data. It consists of a grid of cells arranged in rows and columns, which can be used to store and manipulate various types of information, such as numbers, text, formulas etc.

In other words, In Microsoft Excel, a sheet is often referred to as a worksheet. A sheet is a single page that contains its own collection of cells to help you organize your data.  An Excel worksheet is a single spreadsheet that is a matrix of rectangular cells, organized in tabular form of rows and columns.

In general terms, the vertical portion of the excel worksheet is referred to as column and they can be 16, 384 of them in a worksheet whereas the horizontal portion of the excel worksheet is referred to as rows and they can be 1, o48, 576 of them in a worksheet.  In totally there are 17, 179 869 184 cells in a single page of excel’s spreadsheet where you can write, edit and manipulate your data.

Practically, there such no limit of worksheets which you can keep in a workbook. It simply depends on the memory of the system used.

What You Need To Know About Excel WorkSheet

  • Cell: The smallest unit within an Excel worksheet is a cell. It is identified by a unique combination of its column letter and row number (e.g., A1, B2, C3, etc.). Each cell can hold different types of data, including numbers, text, dates, and formulas.
  • Row and Column Headers: The worksheet is organized into rows, which are numbered sequentially from 1 at the top, and columns, which are labeled alphabetically from A on the left. Row headers are located on the left side, and column headers are located at the top of the worksheet.
  • Cell Content: Cells can contain various types of content, such as:
    • Text: Alphanumeric characters, words, and sentences.
    • Numbers: Numeric values, including integers, decimals, and percentages.
    • Dates and Times: Excel recognizes date and time formats, allowing you to perform calculations involving dates and times.
    • Formulas: Formulas are expressions that perform calculations using values from other cells. They start with an equal sign (=) and can include operators (+, -, *, /), functions (SUM, AVERAGE, IF, etc.), and cell references.
  • Formatting: It provides extensive formatting options to control the appearance of cells, rows, and columns. You can adjust font styles, colors, borders, cell fill colors, and more to make your data visually appealing and easier to understand.
  • Functions and Formulas: It offers comprehensive built-in functions that allow you to perform complex calculations on your data. These functions can be used within formulas to analyze, manipulate, and summarize data. Common functions include SUM, AVERAGE, COUNT, IF, VLOOKUP, and more.
  • Data Types: Excel introduced the concept of “Data Types” where certain cells can be linked to external data sources such as stocks, geographic data, and more. This allows you to pull in real-time information and automatically update it within your worksheet.
  • Charts and Graphs: Excel allows you to create visual representations of your data using various types of charts and graphs. These visualizations make it easier to understand trends, patterns, and comparisons within your data.
  • Data Sorting and Filtering: You can sort data within columns in ascending or descending order. Filtering allows you to display specific subsets of data based on certain criteria, making it easier to analyze and work with large datasets.
  • Data Validation: Excel enables you to set rules for data entry, ensuring that only valid data is entered into cells. This helps maintain data accuracy and consistency.
  • Collaboration: It offers collaboration features that allow multiple users to work on the same worksheet simultaneously. You can track changes, add comments, and protect certain cells or sheets to prevent unwanted edits.
  • Worksheet Tabs: A workbook can contain multiple worksheets, each represented by a tab at the bottom of the Excel window. You can use these tabs to organize different sets of data within a single Excel file.
  • Printing and Page Setup: It provides options for adjusting page orientation, margins, headers, footers, and more to customize how your worksheet looks when printed.

What Is Excel Workbook?

An Excel workbook is a digital file created and used by Microsoft Excel. Workbooks are composed of one or more worksheets, each of which is a grid made up of cells organized into rows and columns.

In other words, an Excel workbook is just like a file or a book, which consists of one or more worksheets, having various sorts of related information. It also enables you to create and maintain as many worksheets as required with no defined upper limit.

The main objective is to organize relevant data in a single place and in different categories (worksheet). For example if an organization were to maintain records of employees, various worksheets could be one of employee personal information record, one for their work attendance, one for their salary or wages information etc.

How To Create A New Workbook

Here are steps to create a workbook in Microsoft Excel, follow you’re the following steps for your version of excel.

Microsoft Excel 2013 And Later

  1. Open Excel
  2. Click the File tab
  3. Click New
  4. Click Blank Workbook

Microsoft Excel 2010

  1. Open Excel
  2. Click the File tab at the top of the window
  3. Click New
  4. Click Blank Workbook

Microsoft Excel 2007

  1. Open Excel
  2. Click the Office Button
  3. Select Blank and recent
  4. In the right pane, double-click Blank workbook

What You Need To Know About Excel Workbook

  • File Format: Excel workbooks are saved with the “.xlsx” extension, which stands for “Excel Open XML Workbook.” This format is widely supported across different versions of Microsoft Excel and other spreadsheet software.
  • Worksheets: A workbook can contain multiple worksheets, often referred to as “sheets” or “tabs.” These sheets are used to organize and separate different sets of data or analyses within a single workbook. By default, a new workbook opens with a single sheet.
  • Cells, Rows, and Columns: The core building blocks of a worksheet are cells, which are the intersection points of rows and columns. Each cell can hold text, numbers, formulas, or other types of data. Rows are numbered from 1 and extend downward, while columns are labeled with letters (A, B, C, etc.) and extend horizontally.
  • Data Entry and Formatting: You can enter data into cells by simply clicking on a cell and typing. It supports various data types like text, numbers, dates, and more. Cells can be formatted to control their appearance, such as font size, color, alignment, and cell borders.
  • Formulas and Functions: It has ability to perform calculations using formulas and functions. Formulas are equations you create to perform mathematical operations on cell values, and functions are pre-built formulas that perform specific calculations. Examples include SUM, AVERAGE, IF, and VLOOKUP.
  • Data Analysis: It provides tools for basic data analysis, including sorting, filtering, and creating charts and graphs. These features allow you to visually represent and analyze your data for better insights.
  • Charts and Graphs: It offers a variety of chart types, such as bar charts, line graphs, pie charts, and more. These charts can help you visualize trends, comparisons, and patterns in your data.
  • Data Validation: You can set up rules to ensure that the data entered in specific cells meets certain criteria. This helps maintain data accuracy and consistency.
  • Data Protection: Excel workbooks can be protected with passwords to restrict access to certain parts of the workbook or to prevent unauthorized changes.
  • Collaboration: Excel workbooks can be shared with others for collaborative editing. Multiple users can work on the same workbook simultaneously, and changes are synchronized in real-time if the workbook is stored in a cloud storage solution like OneDrive or SharePoint.
  • PivotTables and PivotCharts: PivotTables and PivotCharts are advanced tools for data analysis and summarization. They allow you to dynamically reorganize and analyze large sets of data to uncover trends and patterns.
  • Macros and Automation: It supports Visual Basic for Applications (VBA), a programming language that allows you to create custom macros and automate tasks. This is particularly useful for repetitive tasks or complex calculations.

Also Read: Difference Between Column And Row In Excel

Excel Workbook vs Excel WorkSheet: Key Differences


  • Workbook: An Excel workbook is a file that contains one or more worksheets, along with other elements like charts, macros, and more.
  • Worksheet: An Excel worksheet is a single tab within a workbook where you can input, analyze, and manipulate data in a structured grid format.


  • Workbook: A workbook can contain multiple worksheets, allowing you to organize and manage related data sets.
  • Worksheet: A workbook must have at least one worksheet, but it can have multiple worksheets as well.


  • Workbook: Workbooks are used to group and manage related data, scenarios, or projects.
  • Worksheet: Worksheets are used to hold and manipulate data within a workbook.

Tab Name

  • Workbook: Workbooks are saved as separate files and are identified by their file names.
  • Worksheet: Worksheets are identified by the tabs at the bottom of the Excel window and can have custom names.


  • Workbook: A workbook is the entire file, including all its components (worksheets, charts, etc.).
  • Worksheet: A worksheet is the individual grid where data is entered and analyzed.

Data Entry

  • Workbook: Different worksheets within a workbook can store separate datasets.
  • Worksheet: Data is entered and organized within rows and columns on a worksheet.

Data Manipulation

  • Workbook: Workbooks can contain formulas, charts, macros, and other elements that affect data across multiple worksheets.
  • Worksheet: Formulas, functions, formatting, and other data manipulation tasks are performed within individual worksheets.


  • Workbook: Multiple users can collaborate on different worksheets within the same workbook.
  • Worksheet: Collaboration occurs within a single worksheet, with features like comments and shared access.

Cell Reference

  • Workbook: References to cells in other worksheets or workbooks are possible using formulas or links.
  • Worksheet: References are made to cells within the same worksheet using cell addresses.


  • Workbook: Print settings, such as page layout and headers/footers, can be set at the workbook level.
  • Worksheet: Print settings are specific to individual worksheets and can be customized separately.


  • Workbook: You navigate between different worksheets within a workbook using the tabs at the bottom of the Excel window.
  • Worksheet: Navigation within a worksheet involves scrolling vertically and horizontally.

Hierarchical Relationship

  • Workbook: Workbooks are at a higher hierarchical level than worksheets, containing one or more worksheets.
  • Worksheet: Worksheets are contained within workbooks and are at a lower hierarchical level.

Excel Workbook vs Excel WorkSheet: Key Takeaways

DescriptionA workbook in Excel is a file that contains one or more worksheets.A worksheet (also known as a spreadsheet or a tab) is a single grid of cells within a workbook.
FunctionWorkbooks serve as containers for multiple worksheets and allow you to manage and organize related data and calculations.Worksheets are where you input, format, and perform calculations on your data.
File ExtensionWorkbooks are saved with the “.xlsx” or “.xls” extension.Worksheets are not saved as separate files; they are part of the workbook’s structure.
CreationYou start by creating a new workbook when you open Excel.You add new worksheets within a workbook to organize and categorize data.
NumberA single Excel file can contain one or more workbooks.A single workbook can contain multiple worksheets.
NavigationYou can switch between different open workbooks using the Excel interface.You switch between different worksheets within the same workbook using tabs at the bottom.
PurposeWorkbooks are used to separate and categorize different sets of data or projects.Worksheets are used to present, manipulate, and analyze data.
StructureEach workbook can have its own set of customizations, settings, and calculations.Each worksheet has its own grid of cells, formatting, and formulas.
SharingWorkbooks can be shared with others, often containing related data or information.Individual worksheets can be hidden or protected to control what information is visible or editable.
SizeWorkbooks can vary in size depending on the amount of data and content they contain.Worksheets are limited by the number of rows and columns that Excel supports (e.g., 1,048,576 rows and 16,384 columns in Excel 2019).
ConsolidationYou can link or reference data between different workbooks.You can reference or consolidate data between different worksheets within the same workbook.
Macro CodeIf you use VBA (Visual Basic for Applications), macros are usually stored at the workbook level.If you use VBA, macros can be written at the worksheet level to automate specific tasks.

Also Read: Difference Between XLSX And XLS

More Key Takeaways

Excel Workbook

  • A workbook is just a file or a book which consists of one or more worksheets, having various sort of related information.
  • Adding a workbook to another workbook isn’t an easy task.
  • Workbook is the general form of data.
  • A particular workbook has limitations on the number of data entered.
  • Workbooks are used to work in a professional environment.
  • A workbook can be automatically created within a worksheet.
  • Data manipulation and manipulation is not possible with workbook. The workbook is just a cover page or face of entire data.
  • To create a workbook you can simply open a blank workbook by clicking the File Tab. And then new, so there will be a new workbook for you where you can store different information in different worksheets.
  • Many worksheets can be used at the same time.


  • The worksheet can be a single page spreadsheet that is a matrix of rectangular cells, organized in a tabular form of rows and column.
  • It is easy to add multiple worksheets in a workbook.
  • The worksheet is specific for a set of data.
  • Practically, there is no limit of worksheets which can be kept in a workbook. It simply depends on the memory of the system used.
  • Worksheets are most preferred in an educational or learning environment.
  • A worksheet can also be converted into a workbook.
  • Data manipulation and analysis is only possible with worksheets and not workbooks.
  • To add a new tab and worksheet, click the + buttons at the bottom of the screen or click the Home tab on the ribbon menu, choose Insert and Select Insert Sheet. Click the tabs to move back and forth between worksheets as you work.
  • Using a separate worksheet for different tasks can be complicated or become problematic.