Worksheet Basics

In Excel basics are essential to better understand this spreadsheet program. Use this worksheet basics lesson for Excel help.

Introduction

Lesson 17

Every Excel workbook contains at least one or more worksheets. If you are working with a large amount of related data, you can use worksheets to help organize your data and make it easier to work with.

In this lesson, you will learn how to name and add color to worksheet tabs, as well as how to add, delete, copy, and move worksheets. Additionally, you will learn how to group and ungroup worksheets and freeze columns and rows in worksheets so they remain visible even when you're scrolling.

Introduction to worksheets

Video: Introduction to Excel 2010 Worksheets

Launch video!Watch the video (3:01).

When you open an Excel workbook, there are three worksheets by default. The default names on the worksheet tabs are Sheet1, Sheet2, and Sheet3. To organize your workbook and make it easier to navigate, you can rename and even color code the worksheet tabs. Additionally, you can insert, delete, move, and copy worksheets.

Optional: You can download this example for extra practice.

To rename worksheets:

  1. Right-click the worksheet tab you want to rename. The worksheet menu appears.
  2. Select Rename.
    Selecting the Rename command Selecting the Rename command
  3. The text is now highlighted by a black box. Type the name of your worksheet.
    Renaming the worksheet Renaming the worksheet
  4. Click anywhere outside the tab. The worksheet is renamed.
    Renamed worksheet Renamed worksheet

To insert new worksheets:

Click the Insert Worksheet icon. A new worksheet will appear.

Inserting a new worksheet Inserting a new worksheet

You can change the setting for the default number of worksheets that appear in Excel workbooks. To access this setting, go into Backstage view and click Options.

To delete worksheets:

Worksheets can be deleted from a workbook, including those containing data.

  1. Select the worksheets you want to delete.
  2. Right-click one of the selected worksheets. The worksheet menu appears.
  3. Select Delete. The selected worksheets will be deleted from your workbook.
    Deleting a worksheet Deleting a worksheet

To copy a worksheet:

  1. Right-click the worksheet you want to copy. The worksheet menu appears.
  2. Select Move or Copy.
    Selecting the Move or Copy command Selecting the Move or Copy command
  3. The Move or Copy dialog box appears. Check the Create a copy box.
    Checking the Create a copy box Checking the Create a copy box
  4. Click OK. Your worksheet is copied. It will have the same title as your original worksheet, but the title will include a version number, such as January (2).
    Copied worksheet Copied worksheet

To move a worksheet:

  1. Click the worksheet you want to move. The mouse will change to show a small worksheet icon Mouse change.
  2. Drag the worksheet icon until a small black arrow Mouse change appears where you want the worksheet to be moved.
    Moving a worksheet Moving a worksheet
  3. Release your mouse, and the worksheet will be moved.
    Moved worksheet Moved worksheet

To color code worksheet tabs:

You can color worksheet tabs to help organize your worksheets and make your workbook easier to navigate.

  1. Right-click the worksheet tab you want to color. The worksheet menu appears.
  2. Select Tab Color. The color menu appears.
  3. Select the color you want to change your tab.
    Changing the tab color Changing the worksheet tab color
  4. The tab color will change in the workbook. If your tab still appears white, it is because the worksheet is still selected. Select any other worksheet tab to see the color change.
    Changed worksheet tab color Worksheet tab color changed

Grouping and ungrouping worksheets

Video: Grouping Worksheets in Excel 2010

Launch video!Watch the video (1:37).

You can work with each worksheet in a workbook individually, or you can work with multiple worksheets at the same time. Worksheets can be combined into a group. Any changes made to one worksheet in a group will be made to every worksheet in the group.

To group worksheets:

  1. Select the first worksheet you want in the group.
    Selecting the first worksheet to group Selecting the first worksheet to group
  2. Press and hold the Ctrl key on your keyboard.
  3. Select the next worksheet you want in the group. Continue to select worksheets until all of the worksheets you want to group are selected.
    Selecting the first worksheet to group Selecting additional worksheets to group
  4. Release the Ctrl key. The worksheets are now grouped. The worksheet tabs appear white for grouped worksheets.

While worksheets are grouped, you can navigate to any worksheet in the group and make changes that will appear on every worksheet in the group. If you click a worksheet tab that's not in the group, however, all of your worksheets will become ungrouped. You will have to group them again.

To ungroup all worksheets:

  1. Right-click one of the worksheets. The worksheet menu appears.
  2. Select Ungroup. The worksheets will be ungrouped.

Freezing worksheet panes

Video: Freezing Worksheet Panes in Excel 2010

Launch video!Watch the video (1:50).

The ability to freeze specific rows or columns in your worksheet can be a useful feature in Excel. It is called freezing panes. When you freeze panes, you select rows or columns that will remain visible all the time, even as you are scrolling. This is particularly helpful when working with large spreadsheets.

To freeze rows:

  1. Select the row below the rows you want frozen. For example, if you want rows 1 and 2 to always appear at the top of the worksheet even as you scroll, then select row 3.
    Selecting row 3 Selecting row 3
  2. Click the View tab.
  3. Click the Freeze Panes command. A drop-down menu appears.
  4. Select Freeze Panes.
    Selecting the Freeze Panes command from the View tab Selecting the Freeze Panes command from the View tab
  5. A black line appears below the rows that are frozen in place. Scroll down in the worksheet to see the rows below the frozen rows.
    Rows 1 and 2 are frozen Rows 1 and 2 are frozen

To freeze columns:

  1. Select the column to the right of the columns you want frozen. For example, if you want columns A and B to always appear to the left of the worksheet even as you scroll, select column C.
    Selecting column C Selecting column C
  2. Click the View tab.
  3. Click the Freeze Panes command. A drop-down menu appears.
  4. Select Freeze Panes.
    Selecting the Freeze Panes command from the View tab Selecting the Freeze Panes command from the View tab
  5. A black line appears to the right of the frozen area. Scroll across the worksheet to see the columns to the right of the frozen columns.
    Columns A and B are frozen Columns A and B are frozen

To unfreeze panes:

  1. Click the View tab.
  2. Click the Freeze Panes command. A drop-down menu appears.
  3. Select Unfreeze Panes. The panes will be unfrozen, and the black line will disappear.
    Selecting the Unfreeze Panes command from the View tab Selecting the Unfreeze Panes command from the View tab

Challenge!

  1. Open an existing Excel 2010 workbook. If you want, you can use this example.
  2. Insert a new worksheet.
  3. Change the name of a worksheet.
  4. Delete a worksheet.
  5. Move a worksheet.
  6. Copy a worksheet.
  7. Try grouping and ungrouping worksheets.
  8. Try freezing and unfreezing columns and rows.