Worksheet Basics

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

Introduction

Video: Worksheet Basics

Launch "Worksheet Basics" video!Watch the video (3:53).

Every workbook contains at least one worksheet by default. When working with a large amount of data, you can create multiple worksheets to help organize your workbook and make it easier to find content. You can also group worksheets to quickly add information to multiple worksheets at the same time.

Optional: Download our practice workbook.

To rename a worksheet:

Whenever you create a new Excel workbook, it will contain one worksheet named Sheet1. You can rename a worksheet to better reflect its content. In our example, we will create a training log organized by month.

  1. Right-click the worksheet you want to rename, then select Rename from the worksheet menu.
    Screenshot of Excel 2013Clicking Rename
  2. Type the desired name for the worksheet.
    Screenshot of Excel 2013Entering a new worksheet name
  3. Click anywhere outside of the worksheet, or press Enter on your keyboard. The worksheet will be renamed.
    Screenshot of Excel 2013The renamed worksheet

To insert a new worksheet:

  1. Locate and select the New sheet button.
    Screenshot of Excel 2013Clicking the New sheet button
  2. A new blank worksheet will appear.
    Screenshot of Excel 2013The new blank worksheet

To change the default number of worksheets, navigate to Backstage view, click Options, then choose the desired number of worksheets to include in each new workbook.

Screenshot of Excel 2013Modifying the number of default worksheets

To delete a worksheet:

  1. Right-click the worksheet you want to delete, then select Delete from the worksheet menu.
    Screenshot of Excel 2013Deleting a worksheet
  2. The worksheet will be deleted from your workbook.
    Screenshot of Excel 2013The deleted worksheet

If you want to prevent specific worksheets from being edited or deleted, you can protect them by right-clicking the desired worksheet and then selecting Protect sheet from the worksheet menu.

Screenshot of Excel 2013Protecting a worksheet

To copy a worksheet:

If you need to duplicate the content of one worksheet to another, Excel allows you to copy an existing worksheet.

  1. Right-click the worksheet you want to copy, then select Move or Copy from the worksheet menu.
    Screenshot of Excel 2013Selecting Move or Copy...
  2. The Move or Copy dialog box will appear. Choose where the sheet will appear in the Before sheet: field. In our example, we'll choose (move to end) to place the worksheet to the right of the existing worksheet.
  3. Check the box next to Create a copy, then click OK.
    Screenshot of Excel 2013Copying a worksheet
  4. The worksheet will be copied. It will have the same title as the original worksheet, as well as a version number. In our example, we copied the January worksheet, so our new worksheet is named January (2). All content from the January worksheet has also been copied to the January (2) worksheet.
    Screenshot of Excel 2013The copied worksheet

You can also copy a worksheet to an entirely different workbook. You can select any workbook that is currently open from the To book: drop-down menu.

Screenshot of Excel 2013Copying a worksheet to a different workbook

To move a worksheet:

Sometimes you may want to move a worksheet to rearrange your workbook.

  1. Select the worksheet you want to move. The cursor will become a small worksheet icon Mouse change.
  2. Hold and drag the mouse until a small black arrow Mouse change appears above the desired location.
    Screenshot of Excel 2013Moving a worksheet
  3. Release the mouse. The worksheet will be moved.
    Screenshot of Excel 2013The moved worksheet

To change the worksheet tab color:

You can change a worksheet tab's color to help organize your worksheets and make your workbook easier to navigate.

  1. Right-click the desired worksheet tab, and hover the mouse over Tab Color. The Color menu will appear.
  2. Select the desired color. A live preview of the new worksheet tab color will appear as you hover the mouse over different options. In our example, we'll choose Red.
    Screenshot of Excel 2013Selecting a worksheet color
  3. The worksheet tab color will be changed.
    Screenshot of Excel 2013The new worksheet color

The worksheet tab color is considerably less noticeable when the worksheet is selected. Select another worksheet to see how the color will appear when the worksheet is not selected.

Screenshot of Excel 2013Viewing an unselected worksheet color

Grouping and ungrouping worksheets

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

To group worksheets:

In our example, employees need to receive training every three months, so we'll create a worksheet group for those employees. When we add the names of the employees to one worksheet, they'll be added to the other worksheets in the group as well.

  1. Select the first worksheet you want to include in the worksheet group.
    Screenshot of Excel 2013Selecting the first worksheet of the 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.
    Screenshot of Excel 2013Adding worksheets to the group
  4. Release the Ctrl key. The worksheets are now grouped.

While worksheets are grouped, you can navigate to any worksheet within the group. Any changes made to one worksheet will appear on every worksheet in the group. However, if you select a worksheet that is not in the group, all of your worksheets will become ungrouped.

To ungroup all worksheets:

  1. Right-click a worksheet in the group, then select Ungroup Sheets from the worksheet menu.
    Screenshot of Excel 2013Ungrouping a worksheet group
  2. The worksheets will be ungrouped. Alternatively, you can simply click any worksheet not included in the group to ungroup all worksheets.
    Screenshot of Excel 2013The ungrouped worksheets

Challenge!

  1. Open an existing Excel workbook. If you want, you can use our practice workbook.
  2. Insert a new worksheet and rename it. If you are using the example, title the new worksheet April.
  3. Delete a worksheet. If you are using the example, delete the blank worksheet named Sheet 4.
  4. Move a worksheet.
  5. Copy a worksheet.
  6. Try grouping and ungrouping worksheets. If you are using the example, group the January and March worksheets. Try entering new content in the January worksheet, then notice how it appears in the March worksheet.