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Audio course: Get to know Excel: Create your first workbook

Column and row headings in a worksheet; after first 26 columns, next column label is AA

Fig. 1  Column headings are letters. Row headings are numbers.
Callout 1 Column headings.
Callout 2 Row headings.
Fig. 2  After the first 26 column headings (A through Z), the next 26 column headings are AA through AZ. The column headings continue through column IV, for a total of 256 columns.

Worksheets are divided into columns, rows, and cells. That's the grid you see when you open up a workbook.

Columns go from top to bottom on the worksheet, vertically. Rows go from left to right on the worksheet, horizontally. A cell is the space where one column and one row meet.

Each column has an alphabetical heading at the top. The first 26 columns have the letters from A through Z. Each worksheet contains 256 columns in all, so after Z the letters begin again in pairs, AA through AZ. See Figure 2.

After AZ, the letter pairs start again with columns BA through BZ, and so on, continuing through IA to IV, until all 256 columns have alphabetical headings.

Each row also has a heading. Row headings are numbers, from 1 through 65,536.

The alphabetical headings on the columns and the numerical headings on the rows tell you where you are in a worksheet when you click a cell. The headings combine to form the cell address, also called the cell reference. You'll learn more about this in the next section.

There are 16,777,216 cells to work in on each worksheet. You could get lost without the cell reference to tell you where you are.

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