The first thing to get your head around here is what is a Workbook and what is a Worksheet! The answer is – you add your data to a Worksheet or Worksheets, and those Worksheets in turn live inside a Workbook.

When you create a new Workbook in Excel, the default is that it will contain three Worksheets, but you can add many more, or even delete them if you only want one single Worksheet or if you no longer need a specific Worksheet. You can move Worksheets around within the Workbook, and even copy them within the same Workbook or to a different Workbook.

And if you find that you only ever need one Worksheet in each Workbook, you can set the default option to have only one Worksheet in new Workbooks.

You can create a new blank Workbook in a number of ways, so let’s get started with that.

Create a new blank Workbook from the Start screen

  1. Click the Excel shortcut on either your desktop, the Task bar, the Windows Start screen or the Start menu
  2. A window like the one in the picture will pop up.

Figure 1 – Create a new blank workbook

  1. Click on Blank Workbook

Create a new blank Workbook using the keyboard

Once you have Excel open, you can start a new workbook by pressing the Control key and the letter N to create a new workbook: Control + N

Create a new blank Workbook from the Quick Access Toolbar

If you have the icon for New Workbook on the Quick Access Toolbar, simply click on it to create a new book.

Figure 2 – Create a new workbook from the shortcut icon

Create a new blank Workbook from the File Menu

  1. Click the File Menu
  2. Click New

Figure 3 – Create a new workbook from the file menu

  1. Select Blank Workbook

Creating New Workbooks Using Templates

Excel comes with many built in templates which can speed up your editing time.

Create A Workbook from A Template

  1. Click File
  2. Click New

Figure 4 – Create from template

  1. Select the template you want to use from those displayed

Search for A Template

In Excel 2016, you can search for many more sample templates online if the local ones do not meet your needs. Let’s say I want to create an invoice template:

  1. Type Invoice into the Search bar and press Enter or click the magnifying glass – a list of templates matching your search are displayed along with Categories on the right of the screen.

Figure 5 – Search for a template

  1. Click on the template you want to use.

Changing worksheet order

If the worksheets in your workbook are not in the right order, you can drag and drop them into the order you need.

Figure 6 – Move worksheets around by dragging

Let’s say I would like to place the Coffee Sales worksheet in front of the other tabs

  1. Click and drag on the Sheet name – you will see a little arrow and a picture of a page
  2. Drop the worksheet in the location you require.

Hey presto!

Move or copy a Worksheet to a different workbook

  1. Right click on the sheet tab you wish to move or copy
  2. Click on Move or Copy
  3. In the dialog box that pops up, select where you want to move the worksheet to (i.e. which of the open workbooks you want to move it to)
  4. Select where you want the worksheet within the workbook
  5. If you want a copy, tick the Create a copy box
  6. Click OK

Figure 7 – Move or copy on a right click

Set the number of Worksheets in a new Workbook

If you always need more than one worksheet when starting a workbook, you can set the Excel Options to start up a workbook with as many worksheets as you need.

  1. Click File
  2. Click Options

Figure 8 – Get to options from the File menu

  1. Set the number of worksheets

Figure 9 – Set the number of worksheets to start with

  • Change – Include this many sheets to the number you require (I have set it to 3 sheets here)
  • Click OK
  1. All new workbooks will now contain three worksheets (or the number you have set)

Figure 10 – Your new settings take effect

I hope that quick introduction to Worksheets and Workbooks will help you get started with your spreadsheets. Now you’ve got the hang of it, you’re ready to enter your data. And, another quick tip, don’t forget to save your Workbooks as you go along!

To learn about Microsoft Excel – visit the Excel Course Category at tomorrow’s VA All Courses (

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