How to create a spreadsheet
To create a spreadsheet, you must either have a spreadsheet program installed on your computer capable of creating a spreadsheet or use an online service capable of creating a spreadsheet.
Windows computers do not generally include a spreadsheet program by default (although a trial version of Microsoft Excel can be used for a limited time to create a spreadsheet). The only exception was the Microsoft Surface with Windows RT, which is no longer available. There are also many versions of Linux that include LibreOffice.
If you are already in a worksheet (workbook) and want to create a new sheet tab in the workbook see our how to create, delete, rename, and move a worksheet in Excel page.
The most common and widely used spreadsheet program is Microsoft Excel. However, because of all of the different needs of users today, we've included additional options that are available for creating a spreadsheet.
Create a spreadsheet with Google Sheets
Google Sheets is free, easy to access, supports collaborative editing, and can open other spreadsheet files. It can be accessed from any device. To use Google Sheets, follow the steps below.
- Visit https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/
- If prompted, log into your Google account.
- Click the green plus to start a new blank spreadsheet or select from one of the pre-made templates.
After creating and opening a new spreadsheet, any information can be added. As you continue to work, Google automatically saves all changes. To name the spreadsheet, click on "Untitled spreadsheet" in the top-left corner and enter a new name. You can also click the share button in the top-right corner to share the spreadsheet to work collaboratively.
Create a spreadsheet with Microsoft Excel
To use Microsoft Excel to create a spreadsheet, follow the steps below.
Open Excel in Windows
- Open Microsoft Excel. If you're not sure how to open or find Excel, skip to the finding Microsoft Excel section.
- Once Excel is open, any new information and formulas can be entered.
- Once complete or while working on the spreadsheet, you can Save your work through the File tab to the destination of your choice.
How to find Microsoft Excel in Windows
- In Windows, click Start.
- In the search box, type excel. If Excel is installed on the computer, it will be shown in the search results. For example, you may see Microsoft Excel 2010, Microsoft Excel 2013, or Microsoft Excel 365.
In Windows 10, the search box is on the Taskbar next to Start. In Windows 8, start typing excel on the Start page and the search results show on the right side of the screen.
How to install Microsoft Excel
If Excel is not installed, it would need to be installed on the computer. Today, the latest version of Excel is included in Office 365 and requires a subscription. You can download Office 365, which includes Excel, Word, and other Office applications, from https://www.office.com/.
If you've purchased Office or Excel in the past, older versions of Office can also be installed on newer computers, even those running Windows 8 or Windows 10. You must have the installation discs to install Office or Excel again.
Create a spreadsheet with LibreOffice and OpenOffice
LibreOffice and OpenOffice Calc are other great free products that allow anyone to create spreadsheets on their computer and can even support most of the features in Excel. Below are the steps on how to run LibreOffice and OpenOffice in Windows.
Open LibreOffice and OpenOffice in Windows
- In Windows, click Start.
- In the search box, type calc. If LibreOffice or OpenOffice is installed, either LibreOffice Calc or OpenOffice Calc is shown in the search results.
In Windows 10, the search box is on the taskbar next to Start. In Windows 8, type calc on the Start screen and the search results are shown on the right side of the screen.
How to install LibreOffice or OpenOffice
Once either of these programs is installed on the computer, you can follow the steps above to create a spreadsheet.
- How do I create a computer file?
- How to create, delete, rename, and move a worksheet in Excel.
- See our spreadsheet definition for further information and related links.
- Software help and support.