Workbook in Excel: Meaning, Function, and How to Use It - Compute Expert

Workbook in Excel: Meaning, Function, and How to Use It


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In this tutorial, you will learn deeply about what is an excel workbook and how to operate it.

When we work in excel, we will use a workbook to do our work. Thus, if we want to get optimum results from our excel work, it will be good if we understand much about this workbook that we frequently use.

Want to know more about the workbook and how you can utilize it to work better in excel? Read this tutorial until its last part.

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Workbook Meaning in Excel

A workbook is an excel file unit where the worksheets and the tools with which we do our excel work are in. You can see an example of an excel workbook below.

Workbook in Excel: Meaning, Function, and How to Use It - Screenshot of an Excel Workbook



Excel Workbook and Worksheet Differences

A workbook comprises worksheets and tools for excel work while a worksheet comprises rows, columns, and cells where we input and process our data in excel. In other words, a worksheet is a part of a workbook.

To better understand their differences, here is an example of what we call a worksheet in excel (in the red box). Compare it to what we called a workbook previously.

Workbook in Excel: Meaning, Function, and How to Use It - Screenshot of an Excel Worksheet



Excel Worksheet Parts

Here are the parts of an excel workbook in an illustration.

Workbook in Excel: Meaning, Function, and How to Use It - Screenshot of Parts of an Excel Workbook

And here is a brief description of those parts.
  1. Title bar: The name of the workbook file
  2. Quick access toolbar: The place where you can place some command buttons so you can access them much easier
  3. Menu bar: The division of commands in the ribbon
  4. Ribbon: The place where you can find the command buttons you need to run for your excel work
  5. Address bar: The box that shows where your active cell currently is in column and row coordinates
  6. Formula bar: The box that shows the value of your active cell or the formula if there are any
  7. Active cell: The cell you currently select
  8. Column letters: The place that shows the column letters of all the cells currently displayed in the worksheet
  9. Row numbers: The place that shows the row numbers of all the cells currently displayed in the worksheet
  10. Sheet bar: The place that shows all the worksheets in the workbook, the active worksheet, and the button to add a worksheet
  11. Status bar: The place that shows the current status of your workbook and gives some quick calculation results when you highlight a cell range with multiple data
  12. View buttons: The place where you can select the view mode of your active worksheet
  13. Zoom slider: The place where you can manage the zoom level of your active worksheet



Workbook Functions

In Excel, a workbook helps us to:
  • Input and process our data
  • Manage our worksheets
  • Save our excel work

As a workbook is essentially a file in excel, we should manage it well so we can do our work in excel smoothly.




How to Create a New Workbook in Excel

Creating a new workbook in excel is easy. Here are the steps to do that.

  1. Click the File button on the top left of your workbook

    Workbook in Excel: Meaning, Function, and How to Use It - Screenshot of Creating a Workbook in Excel, Step 1

  2. Double-click the Blank workbook icon on the right or click New and do the same

    Workbook in Excel: Meaning, Function, and How to Use It - Screenshot of Creating a Workbook in Excel, Step 2

  3. Done!



How to Create a New Workbook from a Template in Excel

To create a new workbook from the available templates, here are the things you need to do.

  1. Click the File button on the top left of your workbook

    Workbook in Excel: Meaning, Function, and How to Use It - Screenshot of Creating a Workbook from a Template in Excel, Step 1

  2. Click New (New from Template… on Mac)

    Workbook in Excel: Meaning, Function, and How to Use It - Screenshot of Creating a Workbook from a Template in Excel, Step 2

  3. Search for the template you want to use on the right. When you have found the template, double-click on it

    Workbook in Excel: Meaning, Function, and How to Use It - Screenshot of Creating a Workbook from a Template in Excel, Step 3

  4. Done!



How to Open a Workbook in Excel

Need to open a workbook file to continue your work? Do this.

  1. Click the File button on the top left of your workbook

    Workbook in Excel: Meaning, Function, and How to Use It - Screenshot of Opening a Workbook in Excel, Step 1

  2. Click Open and then click Browse

    Workbook in Excel: Meaning, Function, and How to Use It - Screenshot of Opening a Workbook in Excel, Step 2

  3. Locate the workbook file you want to open in the Open dialog box

    Workbook in Excel: Meaning, Function, and How to Use It - Screenshot of Opening a Workbook in Excel, Step 3

  4. Double-click on the file

    Workbook in Excel: Meaning, Function, and How to Use It - Screenshot of Opening a Workbook in Excel, Step 4

  5. Done!





How to Save a Workbook in Excel

To save a workbook file in excel, follow these steps.

  1. Click the File button on the top left of your workbook

    Workbook in Excel: Meaning, Function, and How to Use It - Screenshot of Saving a Workbook in Excel, Step 1

  2. Click Save As and then Browse

    Workbook in Excel: Meaning, Function, and How to Use It - Screenshot of Saving a Workbook in Excel, Step 2

  3. Locate the folder where you want to save your workbook file in the dialog box shown

    Workbook in Excel: Meaning, Function, and How to Use It - Screenshot of Saving a Workbook in Excel, Step 3

  4. Give a name to the workbook file in the File name text box

    Workbook in Excel: Meaning, Function, and How to Use It - Screenshot of Saving a Workbook in Excel, Step 4

  5. Choose the workbook file type in the Save as type dropdown. If you just want to save the workbook to a standard excel file type, ignore this step as excel automatically selects the standard file type

    Workbook in Excel: Meaning, Function, and How to Use It - Screenshot of Saving a Workbook in Excel, Step 5

  6. Click Save

    Workbook in Excel: Meaning, Function, and How to Use It - Screenshot of Saving a Workbook in Excel, Step 6

  7. Done!

If you have saved your workbook file before and just want to overwrite the file, just click File and then Save.



How to Pin an Excel Workbook

You may want to pin an excel workbook file so you can locate it easier when you want to open it. Here are the steps to do that.

  1. Click the File button on the top left of your workbook

    Workbook in Excel: Meaning, Function, and How to Use It - Screenshot of Saving a Workbook in Excel, Step 1

  2. Click Save As and then click Recent

    Workbook in Excel: Meaning, Function, and How to Use It - Screenshot of Saving a Workbook in Excel, Step 2

  3. Locate the workbook file you want to pin on the right and hover your pointer above it

    Workbook in Excel: Meaning, Function, and How to Use It - Screenshot of Saving a Workbook in Excel, Step 3

  4. Click the Pin icon that shows up next to the workbook file or right-click on the file and choose Pin to List

    Workbook in Excel: Meaning, Function, and How to Use It - Screenshot of Saving a Workbook in Excel, Step 4

  5. Done!

If you use Mac, you can open your excel program and pin the workbook file you want in the excel start screen.



How to Close a Workbook in Excel

To close a workbook file (not the excel program itself), here are the steps.

  1. Click the File button on the top left of your workbook

    Workbook in Excel: Meaning, Function, and How to Use It - Screenshot of Closing a Workbook in Excel, Step 1

  2. Click Close

    Workbook in Excel: Meaning, Function, and How to Use It - Screenshot of Closing a Workbook in Excel, Step 2

  3. Done!





How to Protect a Workbook in Excel

Need to protect your workbook so only people who know its password can open it? Here are the things that you can do.

  1. Click the File button on the top left of your workbook

    Workbook in Excel: Meaning, Function, and How to Use It - Screenshot of Protecting a Workbook in Excel, Step 1

  2. Click Info, Protect Workbook, and Encrypt with Password (just click Passwords… on Mac)

    Workbook in Excel: Meaning, Function, and How to Use It - Screenshot of Protecting a Workbook in Excel, Step 2

  3. Enter the password you want for your workbook file and click OK

    Workbook in Excel: Meaning, Function, and How to Use It - Screenshot of Protecting a Workbook in Excel, Step 3

  4. Done!

You can also just protect your workbook from structure modification such as worksheets insertion or deletion. Here are the steps to do that.

  1. Click the Review tab on your Excel ribbon

    Workbook in Excel: Meaning, Function, and How to Use It - Screenshot of Protecting a Workbook Structure in Excel, Step 1

  2. Click Protect Workbook

    Workbook in Excel: Meaning, Function, and How to Use It - Screenshot of Protecting a Workbook Structure in Excel, Step 2

  3. Enter the password that you will need to input when you want to unprotect the workbook structure later and click OK

    Workbook in Excel: Meaning, Function, and How to Use It - Screenshot of Protecting a Workbook Structure in Excel, Step 3

  4. Done!



How to Unprotect a Workbook in Excel

If you want to unprotect your workbook so people can open it without having to input any password, just repeat the steps to protect the workbook earlier. However, when you need to enter the password, make sure that the password text boxes are blank before you click OK.

To unprotect the workbook from the structure modification protection, repeat the steps to apply for the protection too. However, this time, you need to input the password you use to protect it earlier instead of inputting a new password.



How to Share a Workbook in Excel

Since its 2016 version, excel makes it easy to share a workbook with other people. Here are the steps to do it.

  1. Click the Share button on the top right of your workbook

    Workbook in Excel: Meaning, Function, and How to Use It - Screenshot of Sharing a Workbook Structure in Excel, Step 1

  2. Click Share

    Workbook in Excel: Meaning, Function, and How to Use It - Screenshot of Sharing a Workbook Structure in Excel, Step 2

  3. Sign in to your Microsoft account and upload your workbook to OneDrive if you haven’t
  4. Input the people you want to share your workbook with, your message, and the share permission in the dialog box shown

    Workbook in Excel: Meaning, Function, and How to Use It - Screenshot of Sharing a Workbook Structure in Excel, Step 4

  5. Click Send

    Workbook in Excel: Meaning, Function, and How to Use It - Screenshot of Sharing a Workbook Structure in Excel, Step 5

  6. Done!



How to Combine Excel Workbooks

To combine the data and its processing results you have in multiple workbooks, you just have to copy their sheets into one workbook. Here are the steps to do the combination process.

  1. Open all the workbooks you want to combine
  2. Activate one workbook whose worksheets you want to combine with another workbook

    Workbook in Excel: Meaning, Function, and How to Use It - Screenshot of Combining Workbooks in Excel, Step 2

  3. Select all the worksheets of the workbook by clicking the sheet tab on the most left, pressing and holding the Shift button, and then clicking the sheet tab on the most right

    Workbook in Excel: Meaning, Function, and How to Use It - Screenshot of Combining Workbooks in Excel, Step 3

  4. Right-click on the sheet tabs and choose Move or Copy…

    Workbook in Excel: Meaning, Function, and How to Use It - Screenshot of Combining Workbooks in Excel, Step 4

  5. In the dialog box shown, click on the To book dropdown and choose the workbook where you want to combine your current workbook to

    Workbook in Excel: Meaning, Function, and How to Use It - Screenshot of Combining Workbooks in Excel, Step 5

  6. Choose the sheet tab in the destination workbook where you want to place the worksheet tabs before it in the Before Sheet box

    Workbook in Excel: Meaning, Function, and How to Use It - Screenshot of Combining Workbooks in Excel, Step 6

  7. Click OK

    Workbook in Excel: Meaning, Function, and How to Use It - Screenshot of Combining Workbooks in Excel, Step 7

  8. Repeat steps 2-7 for other workbooks that you want to combine with the destination workbook
  9. Done!

    Workbook in Excel: Meaning, Function, and How to Use It - Screenshot of Combining Workbooks in Excel, Step 9






How to Print an Excel Workbook

Need to print your excel workbook so you can have its hardcopy version? Here are the steps to do it.

  1. Click the File button on the top left of your workbook

    Workbook in Excel: Meaning, Function, and How to Use It - Screenshot of Printing a Workbook Structure in Excel, Step 1

  2. Click Print

    Workbook in Excel: Meaning, Function, and How to Use It - Screenshot of Printing a Workbook Structure in Excel, Step 2

  3. Set the printing process and results in the way you want

    Workbook in Excel: Meaning, Function, and How to Use It - Screenshot of Printing a Workbook Structure in Excel, Step 3

  4. Click Print

    Workbook in Excel: Meaning, Function, and How to Use It - Screenshot of Printing a Workbook Structure in Excel, Step 4

  5. Done!

If you want to learn the way to set your printing process and results properly, check out this excel printing tutorial from us.



How to Refer to Another Workbook in Excel

Need to refer to the data in another workbook when you write a formula in excel? You can do that by implementing these steps.

  1. Open the workbook to which data you want to refer
  2. When you need to refer to that workbook data in the formula you type, activate the workbook
  3. Select the worksheet and then the cell/cell range to which data you want to refer to
  4. Done!



Workbook Compatibility Mode

Your excel workbook enters compatibility mode when you save it into an older excel file format (Xls). In this mode, you cannot use the features that only newer excel versions have. This is to ensure that the data and processing results in the workbook can be viewed and edited optimally when you open the workbook file in an older excel version.

You usually use this compatibility mode when you work with other people who use an older excel version. When you just apply the compatibility mode on your workbook file, excel usually shows a dialog box with a list of compatibility issues in your workbook if there are any. Check and fix the points on this list to ensure your workbook can run optimally in older Excel versions.



How to Convert a Workbook from Its Compatibility Mode

Compatibility mode makes you cannot use features from the newer excel version. To exit the compatibility mode of a workbook file, save it into a newer excel file format by following these steps.

  1. Click the File button on the top left of your workbook

    Workbook in Excel: Meaning, Function, and How to Use It - Screenshot of Printing a Workbook Structure in Excel, Step 1

  2. Click Save As and then Browse

    Workbook in Excel: Meaning, Function, and How to Use It - Screenshot of Printing a Workbook Structure in Excel, Step 2

  3. In the dialog box shown, click on the Save as type dropdown and choose Excel Workbook. If your workbook has macros, choose Excel Macro-Enabled Workbook

    Workbook in Excel: Meaning, Function, and How to Use It - Screenshot of Printing a Workbook Structure in Excel, Step 3

  4. Locate the folder where you want to save the workbook file without the compatibility mode
  5. Click Save

    Workbook in Excel: Meaning, Function, and How to Use It - Screenshot of Printing a Workbook Structure in Excel, Step 4

  6. Done!



Workbook Shortcuts in Excel

Shortcuts can get you to work much faster in excel. Here are some shortcuts you can use related to the operation of a workbook in excel.

DescriptionWindowsMac
Create a new workbook fileCtrl + NCommand + N
Open a workbook fileCtrl + OCommand + O
Save a workbook fileCtrl + SCommand + S
Save as a workbook fileF12Command + Shift + S
Close current workbookCtrl + F4Command + W
Move to the next workbookCtrl + Tab Before Excel 2016:
Control + Tab

After Excel 2016:
Command + `
Move to the previous workbookCtrl + Shift + Tab Before Excel 2016:
Control + Shift + Tab

After Excel 2016:
Command + Shift + `
Minimize current workbookCtrl + F9Command + M
Maximize current workbookCtrl + F10Fn + Control + F10



Additional Note

If possible, you should separate the data you use in your work into sheets instead of workbooks. That way, it will be much easier for you to process it in one go.



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