Creating Workbooks in Excel: Blank Workbooks and Templates

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  • 0:03 What Is a Workbook?
  • 1:01 Why Use a Blank Workbook?
  • 1:40 How to Set Up a Blank Workbook
  • 2:14 Why Use a Template?
  • 2:59 How to Set Up a Template
  • 3:37 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kevin Newton

Kevin has edited encyclopedias, taught middle and high school history, and has a master's degree in Islamic law.

With a program as powerful and useful as Excel, it is sometimes difficult to know where to start. In this lesson, we take a look at how to get to work with Excel, using both blank workbooks and templates.

What Is a Workbook?

For many people, Excel can be an intimidating program. Sure, at the basic level, it is useful for creating tables and graphs, but capable users of Excel can even put some level of programming into basic spreadsheets in order to allow a change made on one worksheet to carry over across multiple sheets. Tricks like this do not require a lot of advanced training. Excel includes a number of templates to help less experienced users accomplish many of the goals that they would try to use Excel for in the first place. In Excel, templates are pre-formatted workbooks.

In this lesson, we'll learn how to open various types of projects within Excel, including templates and blank workbooks. But before we go any further, let's clarify one thing that often confuses people: the difference between a workbook and a worksheet in Excel. A workbook is an entire Excel file, while a worksheet is one spreadsheet within a file.

Why Use a Blank Workbook?

So let's say you've got a really weird project to create within Excel. For example, say that you were going to create a form that allowed you to keep stats for your friend's basketball team. Needless to say, that's a pretty specific job that there isn't likely to be a template for. Or maybe you've just got to create something relatively basic. You just want to use Excel to make a quick graph or chart. Finally, you may be an advanced user of Excel and are looking forward to adding your own formatting options, as well as some complicated formulas that stretch across sheets. In any of those cases, chances are that you'll just want to start with a blank workbook rather than a template.

How to Set Up a Blank Workbook

If you were to start Excel, chances are that a blank worksheet would be the first thing to come up. Simply put, it looks like a white screen with a lot of gray lines making the whole thing into a grid. However, if you need to start with a blank workbook after doing work within Excel, simply open a new workbook. If you have the new workbook button on your quick access toolbar, you can simply click it. Otherwise, press Control N on a PC, or Command N on a Mac, to start a new file. Finally, if you go through the File menu, you'll get an option for a blank workbook.

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