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Difference Between Excel Workbook and Worksheet

excelExcel Workbook vs. Worksheet

In Microsoft Excel, a workbook is simply an Excel file that stores entered related data. Workbooks are capable of holding an almost infinite number of worksheets, depending on the size and the relevance of the data. It is, essentially, a book filled with the data from multiple worksheets. Workbooks are usually labeled by the data which is on each worksheet – if all the pages of the workbook hold the same type of data, that workbook will be named for the relevant data that it holds.

In Excel, a worksheet is an amalgamation of a number of cells that hold data pertaining to a certain piece of information. It is also known as a spreadsheet. A user is able to enter, modify, and manipulate the data that is entered in the spreadsheet. With a spreadsheet, a user is essentially entering information onto a page of a workbook.

By default, each workbook automatically contains three worksheets. When a user opens Excel initially, the project on which they are going to begin work is entitled ‘Book 1’ until later renamed to fit the type of data being entered into each respective sheet. Essentially, when a user opens Excel, they are beginning creation on a workbook – a book that contains multiple pages of entered data. These pages fill the book and are, therefore, a part of the overall summation of information that the book is attempting to convey.

A worksheet, then, is nothing more than a page in the workbook. Each page is filled with a specific amount of data. Within a worksheet, the data can be manipulated to create charts, graphs, or arrays that visually project the main purpose of the data that was initially entered. The worksheet is what defines what the workbook is – without the worksheets the workbook would be without form or purpose. The worksheets are what make the workbook what it is, and holds all the data for the workbook.

A workbook cannot necessarily be manipulated. The manipulation of data is directly through the worksheets. These spreadsheets hold data that can calculate set formulas, the user can create formulas that are used to define the data in the worksheet, and the data can be turned into an entire project or table that defines the data as a set array of information for a specific problem. The workbook is just the vessel in which the worksheets and the data that is to be manipulated are held. The workbook is the same as any other book in that it simply stores the pages with all the information – in essence, the workbook is simply the name of the project.


1. A workbook is a file that stores the entered related data; a worksheet is a page of the workbook on which all the data is held.

2. A workbook defines the data of the worksheets; the worksheets allow for the data to be manipulated for specific purposes.

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