Identifying Rows, Columns, and Cells in Excel

Identifying rows, columns, and cells in Excel is easy. When using a spreadsheet, you work with rows, columns, and cells to organize and manipulate data.

Cells contain the data, which can be viewed as either rows or columns depending on how it is organized.

Identifying Rows

Rows run horizontally from left to right on the worksheet.

Each row is identified by a number.

A row’s number is located to the left of the row.

Row numbers begin at 1 and continue to 1,048,576.

Rows, columns, and cells in Excel

Identifying Columns

Columns run vertically from top to bottom on the worksheet.

Each column is identified by a letter(s).

A column’s letter is located at the top of the column.

Column letters follow the English alphabet and go from A-Z, then repeat and double as in AA, AB, AC, then repeat and triple, until they get to the letters XFD.

Rows, columns, and cells in Excel

The total number of rows and columns an Excel worksheet provides is very large.

The number of rows and columns you’ll be able to view at one time depends on the size of your device’s display.

To view rows and columns that don’t fit on your display, use the window scroll bars.

Rows, columns, and cells in Excel


A cell is an area on the worksheet where a row and column intersect (cross over).

Cell’s are referenced by their address.

The address is represented by a column letter followed by a row number.

The address of the first cell in a worksheet is A1 (column A, row 1).

Rows, columns, and cells in Excel

Active Cell

An active cell in Excel means that the cursor is currently in that cell, and the cell is ready for input.

An active cell has a thickened, colored border.

When you input data into a cell, you have to press the Enter key on the keyboard to confirm the entry.

After pressing Enter, the cursor will move either to the adjacent cell on the right or to the one directly underneath, and that cell becomes the new active cell.

You can make any cell in the worksheet active by double clicking inside it with the mouse pointer, or using the arrow keys on the keyboard to move the cursor into it.

The cell address of the active cell is displayed in the Name Box.

Rows, columns, and cells in Excel

Instantly View the Total Number of Rows and Columns in a Worksheet

To instantly see the total number of rows and columns in an Excel worksheet, click the Select All icon with the left mouse button and keep it depressed.

The Select All icon is a small down-arrow located in the upper left corner of the worksheet.

Rows, columns, and cells in Excel

The total number of rows and columns will display in the Name Box area for as long as you keep the left mouse button pressed down.

The Name Box in the worksheet below shows there are a total of 1,048,576 rows and 16,384 columns.

Rows, columns, and cells in Excel

This is the maximum number of rows and columns Excel provides in a single worksheet.

There are a total of 17,179,869,184 cells in an Excel worksheet.

Related Topics

Compatible with Excel for Microsoft 365, Excel 2021, Excel 2019, Excel 2016, Excel 2013, Excel 2010