Insert, rename, copy, move, hide and delete Excel worksheets


Posted: April 29, 2022

Inserting and organising data into multiple worksheets is a huge part of Excel.

You will need to be confident in inserting, renaming and organising worksheets, and be able to quickly navigate between them if you want to use Excel well.

In this blog I cover the following:

What is a worksheet in Excel?

Excel worksheets are the fundamental element of all Excel workbooks (files).

Worksheets are the working area where you enter and modify data. Each sheet is made up of columns and rows.

Each column is identified by a letter, A, B C, etc, and each row is identified by a number, 1, 2, 3, etc.

Excel worksheet with red box around row headings with an arrow pointing to it and a description "Row headings are numbers". A red box around column headings with an arrow pointing to it and a description "Column headings are letters"

A cell is the intersection of a row and a column. For example, cell B3 is where column B and row 3 intersect in the grid.

Excel cell B3 selected with arrows pointing to Column B heading and Row 3 heading. Cell B3 is showing in the box on the top left corner of Excel sheet.

Data is entered into individual worksheet cells, therefore giving each piece of data its own unique cell reference.

Unique cell references are used within calculations.

In the example below, $1000 has been entered into cell A4. $564.00 has been entered into cell B4. In cell C4 a calculation has been created to subtract the number held in cell B4 from the number held in cell A4 to calculate the difference.

Note: to learn how to subtract in Excel please visit our blog How to subtract in Excel.

Excel worksheet with Title "Subtracting in Excel" in cell A1, Budget in cell A3, $1,000.00 in cell A4, Spent in cell B3, $564.00 in cell B4, Remaining in cell C3 and $436.00 in cell C4. Cell C4 is selected with the formula =A4-B4 in the formula bar shown in a red box.

How many rows and columns in an Excel sheet?

The total number of rows per Excel sheet is 1,048,576. The total number of columns per Excel sheet is 16,384.

The very first column in Excel is column A, then column B, etc. Once column Z is reached Excel names the columns AA, AB, AC, etc. The very last column in Excel is column XFD.

Excel sheet with very last cell selected in column XFD and row 1048576

Think of a worksheet like a chapter in a book. Within a single book (Excel file) you can have several chapters (worksheets) and within each chapter there are many pages (each worksheet can contain many pages).

How many worksheets can a workbook have? 

Each Excel workbook (file) can have multiple worksheets, also known as sheets or sheet tabs.

The default setting for new files in Excel is to contain just one blank worksheet. Older versions of Excel, such as Excel 2010, by default contain 3 blank worksheets.

The total number of worksheets an Excel workbook file can contain is only limited by the memory on the device you are using to access the workbook.

Why use multiple worksheets in Excel?

While you can work with just one worksheet in a file, primarily worksheets are used to organise and categorise your data.

For example, you could have individual worksheets for each month of the year, or each employee.

Excel worksheet tabs with tabs names Jan, Feb, Mar and Apr

Using multiple worksheets, you can easily organise your data within the workbook so that information can be easily located.

Examples of how you can use multiple worksheets to organise data

Here are just a few examples of how you can use worksheets to organise your data.

  • Separate data for individual months or years by splitting the information on to separate worksheets.
  • Use individual worksheets for different regions or territories
  • Create individual worksheets for each of your team members
  • Create a summary worksheet to create an overview of other worksheets within the workbook
  • Create individual worksheets for pricelists from each of your suppliers
  • Allow others to read data on individual worksheets but prevent them from updating it by protecting the worksheet. To learn more about protecting worksheets check out our blog How to Protect an Excel file with password (3 quick ways to protect your work) 

You can rename existing worksheets, insert new ones, delete, move, copy and hide worksheets.

Insert new sheet in Excel

To insert a new worksheet all you need to do is click the New Sheet button to the right of the existing sheet tabs, or if you are using an older version of Excel, click the Insert Worksheet sheet tab.

Excel worksheet tab named Sheet 1 with the mouse and a red arrow pointing to a plus button for a New Sheet

Excel insert new sheet shortcut

To insert a new sheet using an Excel keyboard shortcut press ALT + SHIFT + F1.

How to Rename a sheet in excel

By default, all new sheets are named Sheet1, Sheet2, Sheet3, etc. 

Renaming a worksheet to something useful helps you quickly locate data.

To rename a worksheet use one of the following steps

  • Double-click a sheet tab name to rename it. Type the new name and then press ENTER.
  • Press Alt + H, O, R. Type the new name and then press ENTER.
  • Right-click the sheet tab and then select Rename. Type the new name and then press ENTER.
Sheet1 tab with shortcut menu next to it and the Rename option being selected by the mouse

Move sheets in Excel

As you add sheets to the workbook you may need to arrange them into a certain order.

To rearrange worksheets just click and drag the worksheet tab to the position you require.

Excel worksheet tabs Feb, Jan, Mar, Apr and Jun with the mouse and a sheet in-between Jan and Mar tabs

As you drag the worksheet tab a small arrow will indicate the position your worksheet will be moved to.

Once the arrow is in the required location release your mouse button and the sheet will be moved to this location.

You can also move and copy worksheets between files. For more information on this refer to our blog How to copy Excel sheet to another Workbook (copy a worksheet to another file).

Navigate to move between sheets in Excel

As you add more sheets to the workbook you may need to use the navigation buttons (arrows to the bottom left of the screen) to move to a worksheet.

Note: the navigation arrows become useful when the number of sheets in the workbook exceed the worksheet tab area in front of the horizontal scrollbar. When there are many sheet tabs in a file some sheets can be hidden behind the horizontal scroll bar making it difficult to move to them.

Excel sheet tabs Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun with three dots next to them. A red arrow pointing to the three dots with the caption "When there are many sheet tabs in a file some sheets can be hidden behind the horizontal scroll bar, making it difficult to move them"

Super Tip: to quickly see a list of all visible worksheets, right click on the sheet navigator arrows (far left of the worksheets).

Excel sheet tabs with a red arrow pointing to sideways triangle to the left of the tabs. The caption next to the red arrow says "If sheets are hidden below the horizontal scrollbar, right-click the navigation arrows and select the worksheet you want to move to from the list"

Select the worksheet you want to go to. Hidden worksheets are not seen as available so will not be shown in the list and then click OK.

Activate dialogue box with options Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov and Dec with Aug selected and move hovering over OK

Move between sheets in Excel shortcuts

Press CTRL + Page Up to move to the previous worksheet or CTRL + Page Down to move to the next worksheet.

To see the first worksheet tab press CTRL + left click the left navigation arrow, to see the last worksheet press CTRL + click the right navigation arrow.

How to copy Excel sheets

There are times when copying (duplicating) a worksheet will save you having to recreate a new worksheet from scratch. This can save you vast amounts of time.

How to copy (duplicate) a worksheet in the Excel Desktop Application

A super quick way to copy an existing sheet is to press and hold the CTRL key and while this is still pressed click and drag the worksheet tab to make a copy. 

Excel worksheets Jan, Feb, Mar and Apr with a mouse dragging a sheet to the right of the Apr sheet tab

Release the mouse button before you release the CTRL key and Excel will create an exact copy of the sheet with the number (2) included in the copied sheet name. This indicates it is a copy of the original sheet.

Excel worksheet tabs Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr and Apr (2)

Right-click the copied worksheet and select Rename to rename the sheet.

Shortcut menu next to the Apr (2) with the mouse over the Rename option

For steps on how to copy a sheet into another workbook go to Move, Copy and Paste information in Excel.

How to copy (duplicate) a worksheet in Excel Online

To copy a sheet in Excel Online, right-click the sheet and then select Duplicate from the shortcut menu. 

Excel online sheet tabs Sheet1, Sheet2 and Sheet3 with Sheet2 selected and a shortcut menu with Duplicate being selected

Excel will create an exact copy of the sheet with the number (2) included in the sheet name. This indicates it is a copy of the original sheet.

Right-click the copied worksheet and select Rename to rename the sheet.

Excel online sheet tabs Sheet1, Sheet 2(2), Sheet2 and Sheet3 with Shet2(2) selected and a shortcut menu with the Rename option being selected

How to copy multiple sheets in Excel

To copy multiple sheets in Excel you mush first select all the sheets to be copied.

To copy multiple sheets do the following.

Step 1: Press the CTRL key and while it is still pressed click each sheet that will be copied.

Excel worksheet tabs Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr and June with the tabs Feb and Apr selected. Two red arrows pointed toward the two selected sheets with the caption "Press and hold down CTRL while clicking each sheet"

Step 2: Press and hold the CTRL key and while this is still pressed click and drag any selected worksheet tab to make a copy. 

Step 3: Release the mouse button before you release the CTRL key and Excel will create an exact copy of the sheets with the number (2) included in the copied sheets names. This indicates they are copies of the original sheets.

You can rename the copied worksheets if you wish.

For more information on copying sheets check out our post, How to copy Excel sheet to another Workbook (copy a worksheet to another file).

Hide and Unhide Excel sheet

If you want to keep the worksheet but remove it from sight you can easily hide a worksheet in Excel. 

Note: Please don’t confuse hiding a worksheet with securing a worksheet so that no-one else can access it. Hiding should only be used to remove the worksheet from view.

To hide a worksheet:

Step 1: Right-click the worksheet tab.

Step 2: Select Hide from the shortcut menu.

Excel worksheets with tabs Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr and June with June selected and the option hide being selected from the shortcut menu

To unhide hidden worksheets:

Step 1: Right-click any visible worksheet tab and then select Unhide.

Excel worksheets Jan, Feb, Mar and Apr with Apr selected and Unhide being selected from the shortcut menu

A list of hidden worksheets will be displayed.

Step 2: Select the worksheet or worksheets you would like unhidden. 

Note: to select more than one worksheet, press SHIFT + click the worksheets you require.

Unhide dialogue box with June selected and the mouse selecting OK

Step 3: Click OK

The worksheet or worksheets will now be visible.

How to Delete a sheet in Excel

Deleting a worksheet from a workbook permanently removes the worksheet and all the data contained within it from the workbook.

Warning: the Undo command will not undo this procedure so go carefully.

To delete a sheet in Excel:

Step 1: Right-click the sheet you want to delete.

Step 2: From the shortcut menu, select Delete.

June worksheet tab selected with the Delete option being selected

If the worksheet contains no data the worksheet will be deleted. However, if your worksheet contains data a message box will be displayed advising you that the worksheet will be permanently deleted.

Microsoft Excel warning "Microsoft Excel will permanently delete this sheet. Do you want to continue? With two options Delete and Cancel

Step 3: Click Delete.

The worksheet is then deleted from the workbook.

How to delete multiple sheets in Excel

To delete multiple sheets in Excel you must first select all the sheets to be deleted.

To do this, follow these steps:

Step 1: Press the CTRL key and while it is still pressed click each sheet that will be deleted.

Step 2: Right-click any selected sheet. 

Step 3: From the shortcut menu, select Delete

A message box will be displayed advising you that the worksheets will be permanently deleted.

Step 4: Click Delete

The worksheets will then be deleted from the workbook.

Shortcut to delete sheet in Excel

To delete a sheet in Excel use the keyboard shortcut ALT + H, D, S

Was this blog helpful? We'd love to know. If you're a beginner or if you use Excel every day please let us know if we helped in some way by leaving a Comment below .

If you enjoyed this and want to learn more about how to use Excel, have a look at our posts How to enter data in Excel (data entry) and Link cells in the same or different Excel worksheets.

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