Excel Worksheets Basics – A Beginner’s Guide

Excel worksheets are like digital pages where you can type, calculate, and analyze data. They are divided into rows and columns to help you keep things organized.

Overview of Excel workbooks



What Is an Excel Worksheet
Create an Excel Worksheet
Add New Worksheet
Rename a Worksheet
Activate a Worksheet
Move a Worksheet Tab
Change Excel Sheet Directions
Delete a Worksheet
Copy a Worksheet
Hide and Unhide Sheet
Group and Ungroup Worksheets
Protect Cells in an Excel Worksheet
Change Sheet Tab Color
Compare Excel Sheets
Zoom In and Out
Resize Excel Window
Limit Excel Sheet Size
Split Excel Sheet
Count Total Sheets in an Excel Workbook

What Is an Excel Worksheet?

An Excel worksheet is a grid-based document used for organizing and analyzing numerical data.

The worksheet consists of rows and columns, forming cells where users can input and manipulate data.

Each intersection of a row and a column is called a cell, and each cell can contain text, numbers, formulas, or functions.

Excel worksheet

Users can perform various calculations, create lists or charts, and organize data in a structured manner.

How to Create an Excel Worksheet?

To create an Excel worksheet, follow the steps below.

  • Open Microsoft Excel and select Blank workbook.

Selection of the Blank workbook option

  • The blank Excel worksheet is showcased as Sheet1.

Creating a blank Excel worksheet

How to Add New Worksheets in Your Workbook?

To insert a new worksheet in an Excel workbook:

  • Press the plus (+) symbol at the bottom.

Click on the plus (+) symbol

  • A new sheet will open.

Insert a new sheet


Insert or open a new worksheet in Excel

Note: You can insert a new worksheet by Pressing Shift + F11.

How to Rename a Worksheet?

You can rename a worksheet in Excel by using the Context Menu.

  • Right-click the sheet name >> A Context Menu will appear >> Select Rename.

Selection of the Rename option from the Context menu

  • Sheet2 is renamed to April.

Rename the sheet name

You can also rename multiple sheets.

How to Activate a Worksheet?

To make a worksheet active,  left-click the Sheet Name.

Left Clicking the Sheet Name

  • Click any sheet tab to make it active.

Make a worksheet active

Using the Keyboard and the Mouse

Ctrl + Left Click: You can Scroll to the last sheet

Right Click: You can See all sheets

To activate  January, right-click the right arrow.

Right click on the right arrow

  • In  the Activate window >> Select January >> OK.

Activate window

  • You can activate January using the keyboard shortcut.

Activate the January sheet

How to Move a Worksheet Tab in an Excel Workbook?

To move  January:

  • Left-click January and hold. Release it after February.

Selection of the January sheet tab

  • January will be displayed after February.

Move a worksheet tab in an Excel workbook


How to move a worksheet tab in an Excel workbook

How to Change the Direction of an Excel Sheet From the Right to the Left or from the Left to the Right?

The Excel sheet direction is from the left to the right by default.

Excel sheet direction from left to right

1. Changing the Excel Sheet Direction from Left-to-Right to Right-to-Left

  • Go to the File tab >> Options.
  • In the Excel Options dialog box >> Select Advanced.
  • In Display options for this worksheet  >> Check  Show sheet right-to-left  >> OK.

Check the Show sheet right-to-left checkbox

  • You can also change the directions of the Excel sheet from the left to the right.

Excel sheet direction from right to left

2. Changing the Excel Sheet Directions from Right-to-Left to Left-to-Right

  • Press Alt + F + T  to open Excel Options >> Select  Advanced.
  • Go to Display options for this worksheet>> Uncheck Show sheet right-to-left >> OK.

Uncheck the Show sheet right-to-left checkbox

  • The direction was changed from the right to the  left.

Changing the direction from right to left

How to Delete a Worksheet in Excel?

To delete a worksheet, for example, Sheet2:

  • Right-click the sheet tab >> Click  Delete.

Click on the Delete option

  • In the Microsoft Excel warning window >> Delete.

Press the Delete option from the Microsoft Excel window

  • Sheet2 was deleted.

Delete the Sheet2

You can also delete the multiple worksheets.

Delete multiple worksheets

How to Copy a Worksheet in Excel?

To copy a sheet, right-click.

Within the Same Workbook

  • Select January  >> Right-click the sheet tab >> Select Move or Copy .

Selection of the Move or Copy option

  • In the Move or Copy dialog box >> Select March.
  • Check Create a copy >> Click OK.

Move or Copy dialog box

  • The copied sheet (January (2)) is before March.

Copied sheet January (2) before the sheet March

To Another Workbook

Open both workbooks. You will copy  January (2) in the Excel Worksheets.xlsx workbook to Scrolling in Excel.xlsm workbook.

Choose the Move or Copy option

  • In the Move or Copy dialog box >> Select Scrolling in Excel.xlsm in To book.
  • In Before sheet, select Smooth Scrolling.
  • Check  Create a copy >> Click OK

Copy January (2) sheet from one workbook to another workbook

  • January (2) in the Excel Worksheets.xlsx workbook was copied to Scrolling in Excel.xlsm workbook before the Smooth Scrolling sheet.

Copying sheet

How to Hide and Unhide Sheets in Excel?

The simplest way to hide and unhide worksheets from workbook is to right-click the worksheet.

Hiding a Sheet in Excel

  • Select February and right-click the sheet name >> In the Context Menu  >> Select Hide.

Selection of the Hide option

  • February is hidden from the sheet tab.

Hide the February sheet

Unhiding Sheet in Excel

  • Select any sheet >> Right-click the sheet name >> In the Context Menu >> Choose Unhide.

Selection of the Unhide option

  • In the Unhide dialog box >> Select February from the Unhide one or more sheets drop-down menu >> OK.

Unhide dialog box

  • Unhide the hidden sheet(s).

Unhide the hidden sheet

How to Group and Ungroup Worksheets in Excel?

You can group and ungroup the adjacent and nonadjacent worksheet tabs. If you change any data on any grouped sheet tab, it will automatically change the data on every sheet tab.

Grouping Adjacent and Nonadjacent Worksheets

Non-adjacent worksheet tabs: Click any sheet tab >> Press and hold Ctrl>> Select the sheets you want to group.

Adjacent worksheet tabs: Select any sheet tab >> Press and hold Shift, click the leftmost or rightmost sheet tab.

Group sheet tabs

Ungrouping Adjacent and Nonadjacent Worksheets

Right-click any grouped sheet tabs >> Choose  Ungroup Sheets in the Context Menu.

Ungroup sheet tabs

Note: You can also ungroup the worksheets by clicking any unselected sheet tab.

How to Protect Excel Worksheet?

Follow these steps:

  • Right-click the sheet tab >> Choose Protect Sheet in the Context Menu.

Selection of the Protect Sheet option

  • In the Protect Sheet window  >> Enter a password in Password to unprotect sheet.
  • Choose your options in Allow all users of this worksheet to >> OK.

Entering password to protect sheet

  • In the Confirmed Password dialog box >> Reenter the password in Reenter password to protect >> OK.
  • March is protected with a password.

Reentering password to protect sheet

  • TO check whether the sheet is protected, select C11 and Enter random data. A warning message will be displayed, confirming the sheet is protected.
Microsoft Excel warning box

Click here to enlarge image

How to Change a Worksheet Tab Color in Excel?

You can change the sheet tab color in Excel. By default, the color of a sheet tab is white. You can change it to any color you want. Observe the GIF below.

Change sheet tab color

How to Compare Excel Sheets?

1. Compare Excel Sheets with the View Tab

You can use the View Side by Side feature from the View tab to compare Excel sheets in the same workbook and in different workbooks.

In the Same Workbook

  • Go to the View tab >> Window  >> Click  New Window.

Selection of the New Window feature

  • A new workbook window will open.
  • By default, Excel displays two separate Excel windows horizontally.
  • To display the windows vertically. Go to the View tab >> Window >> Click Arrange All.
  • In the Arrange Windows dialog box  >> Check Vertical >> OK.

Arrange windows

  • Both workbook windows are vertically displayed.
Arrange workbook windows vertically to compare sheets

Click here to enlarge image

  • To scroll both windows at a time, enable Synchronous Scrolling.
  • Follow the steps in the GIF.
Synchronous scrolling of both windows

Click here to enlarge image

Different Workbooks

You can compare different workbooks at a time using the View Side by Side feature and the Synchronous Scrolling command of Excel. The workbooks must be open.

  • Go to View tab >> Window >> Select View Side by Side.

Select the View Side by Side feature

The Synchronous Scrolling command will be enabled automatically for both workbooks.

Opening workbooks on one screen

Click here to enlarge image

  • Select any cell and scroll to compare both workbooks.

2. Compare Excel Sheets with Conditional Formatting

You can compare Excel sheets and highlight the different values with conditional formatting.  January and February will be compared here.

Follow these steps:

  • Select B5:E14 >> Go to the Home tab >> Styles >> Conditional Formatting >> Select New Rule.

Selection of the New Rule command

  • In the New Formatting Rule dialog box >> In Format values where this formula is true, select Use a formula to determine which cells to format.
  • Enter the following formula:
  • Click Format…

Using conditional formatting formula

  • In Format Cells, go to Fill and choose a color.
  • Click OK.

Choose color from the Fill tab

  • In New Formatting Rule, click OK.

New Formatting Rule window

  • Different values between January and February are highlighted.
Highlighting the different values between January and February sheets

Click here to enlarge image

How to Zoom In and Out in Excel Worksheets?

You can Zoom In or Zoom Out. Observe the GIF.

Zoom in and out

How to Resize the Excel Window or View Excel in Full Screen?

You can use the Maximize and Minimize options.

Maximize, Minimize, and Close label icon

To enable Full Screen View press Ctrl + Shift + F1 keys.

Full Screen View mode in Excel

Click here to enlarge image

Note: You can also exit the Full Screen View mode by pressing Ctrl + Shift + F1 keys.

To resize the Excel sheet window, Drag the sheet window. Observe the GIF.

Dragging the sheet window

How to Limit Excel Sheet Size?

Limiting Excel sheet size means preventing others from viewing additional rows and columns.

1. Hide Unused Rows and Columns

Here, rows up to 14 and columns up to  E in the June sheet will be hidden.

  • Select any cell in column F. Here, F6 >> Press Ctrl + Shift + Right Arrow (→) to select the rest of the columns.
  • Press Ctrl + 0 to hide columns.

Selection of the unused columns

  • Columns are hidden.

Hidden unused columns

  • Select the entire row 15 >> Press Ctrl + Shift + Right Arrow (↓) to select the rest of the columns.
  • Press Ctrl + 9 to hide the selected rows.

Selection of the unused rows

  • Unused rows in June are hidden.

Hidden unused rows


2. Using the Developer Properties Command to Limit Excel Sheet Size

  • Go to the Developer tab >> Controls >> Properties command.
  • In the Properties window >> Set scroll area in the ScrollArea. Here, $A$1:$E$20.
  • Close the window (X).

Setting the limit of the scroll area to limit the sheet size

  • Your Excel sheet is limited to the range $A$1:$E$20.

Using Developer Properties command to limit Excel sheet size

3. Using a VBA Code to Limit Sheet Size

Follow these steps:

  • Press Alt + F11 to open the Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications window.
  • Select Insert  >> Module.

Selection of the Module command

  • In the VBA Module, enter the following code and run the macro.
Sub Limit_Sheet_Size()
Dim lss As Worksheet
Set lss = ActiveSheet
lss.ScrollArea = "$A$1: $E$20"
End Sub

Copy and Paste VBA code in the Module

How to Split Excel Sheets?

To split screen or an Excel sheet within the same sheet, follow these steps:

  • Select C9 >> Go to View >> Window >> Select Split.

Selection of teh Split command

  • Your sheet is split into four panes.

Split Excel sheet

Observe the GIF.

How to split Excel sheet

How to Count the Number of Sheets in an Excel Workbook?

Use the SHEETS function to count the total number of sheets.

  • In C5, enter the following formula and press Enter.

Using SHEETS function to count total sheets

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Md. Abdur Rahim Rasel
Md. Abdur Rahim Rasel

MD. ABDUR RAHIM is a marine engineer proficient in Excel and passionate about programming with VBA. He views programming as an efficient means to save time while managing data, handling files, and engaging with the internet. His interests extend to Rhino3D, Maxsurf C++, AutoCAD, Deep Neural Networks, and Machine Learning, reflecting his versatile skill set. He earned a B.Sc in Naval Architecture & Marine Engineering from BUET, and now he has become a content developer, creating technical content... Read Full Bio

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