Updated: 12/16/2018 by Computer Hope

In Microsoft Excel, a workbook is a collection of one or more spreadsheets, also called worksheets, in a single file. Below is an example of a spreadsheet called "Sheet1" in an Excel workbook file called "Book1." Our example also has the "Sheet2" and "Sheet3" sheet tabs, which are also part of the same workbook.

Overview of a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet.

Difference between a workbook, worksheet, and spreadsheet

Because the terms spreadsheet, workbook, and worksheet are so similar, there may be some confusion when trying to understand their differences. When you open Microsoft Excel (a spreadsheet program), you're opening a workbook. A workbook can contain one or more different worksheets that can be accessed through the tabs at the bottom of the worksheet your currently viewing. What's often most confusing is that a worksheet is synonymous with a spreadsheet. In other words, a spreadsheet and worksheet mean the same thing. However, most people only refer to the program as a spreadsheet program and the files it creates as spreadsheet files.

How to create a new workbook

To create a new workbook in Microsoft Excel, follow the steps below for your version of Excel.

Microsoft Excel 2013 and later

  1. Open Excel.
  2. Click the File tab.
  3. Click New.
  4. Click Blank workbook.

Microsoft Excel 2010

  1. Open Excel.
  2. Click the File tab at the top of the window.
  3. Click New
  4. Click Blank workbook.

Microsoft Excel 2007

  1. Open Excel.
  2. Click the Office Button
  3. Select Blank and recent.
  4. In the right pane, double-click Blank workbook.

Spreadsheet, Spreadsheet terms