What is a spreadsheet?

A spreadsheet is a computer application or program that enables the user to tabulate and collate data. This data can then be used to make calculations, show graphical representations or analysis.

  • A spreadsheet comprises of a grid of ‘cells’ arranged in rows and columns and information can be inserted into each cell.
  • Each cell can contain text, numbers and formulas.
  • A formula is a calculation based from the contents of cells or a total of a combination of cells. The total in that formula can change if the content of the combination cells used is also amended.
  • Spreadsheets can be useful for home budgeting or accounting and they make it easy to display information.
  • Spreadsheets can consist of a number of different worksheets that can include different data as well as enabling cells on one worksheet to be used and referenced on other different worksheets.
  • Information can also be sorted and filtered by a spreadsheet.
  • The Microsoft Office spreadsheet is called Excel but there are open office spreadsheets available, including internet based web apps such as Google spreadsheets.
  • Spreadsheets have a number of tools included to support many different types of calculations and can include graphical presentations such as graphs, pie charts etc.

Karen Maxwell is a Digital Unite tutor and assessor/trainer of computer accessibility.