Dictionary of terms and definitions in Excel.

Excel Glossary

Spreadsheet  is a software that allows the entry, calculation, and storage of data in columns and rows that offers the user a visual display.  Microsoft Excel is the most popular and widely used spreadsheet program, but there are also some alternatives such as OpenOffice or Google Sheets.

Workbook is a document created in an Excel spreadsheet.

Worksheet is a page or section of a workbook, usually in a spreadsheet application.

Template is a formatted workbook or worksheet designed to help users fulfil a specific need in Excel.

Cell reference is a set of coordinates that identifies a specific cell. It’s a combination of letters and numbers. A2, for example, would point to the cell located where column A and row 2 intersect.


Formula is an expression that operates on values in a range of cell addresses and operators. Formulas perform calculations in Excel. They always begin with the equal ( = ) sign, which is where you want the answer or results to appear. Formulas can contain values, constants, cell references, functions, and operators. Here’s a brief look at these components and what they mean.

A sequence inside a cell that is used to produce a value. It must begin with an equal (=) sign. This could be a mathematical equation, cell references, functions or operator. A formula is also known as an expression.

Functions are formulas that are pre-built into Excel. They are designed to help simplify potentially complex formulas in a worksheet.

Operators are symbols or signs that indicate which calculation must be made in an expression. Operators do not necessarily refer to simple mathematical types; comparison, text concatenation or reference operators also exist.

Data Validation — This feature helps to prevent incorrect data from being entered into your worksheet. This most commonly used to create drop-down lists for common terms. Data validation promotes consistency and accuracy in the data to be entered.

Pivot Table

Slicer – filter

Item — These are sub-categories of fields in your pivot table.

Array formula – Excel formulas, to perform calculations that generate single or multiple results depending on selection during constructed. Created with one formula. Array formulas are confirmed with CTRL + SHIFT + ENTER therefore often called CSE. In the preview, these formulas are enclosed in braces {}.

Dynamic array formula – Excel formulas that can return arrays of variable size based on a single formula entered in one cell. Unlike Array Formula, is selected in one cell and confirm with ENTER only.

Spill – refers to a behaviour where dynamic array formulas that return multiple results “spill” these results into multiple cells automatically.

Spill array – refers to the range of values returned by a dynamic array formula that spills results onto a worksheet. Once you enter a spilled array formula, when you select any cell within the spill area, Excel will place a highlighted in blue border around the range. The border will disappear when you select a cell outside of the area.