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Lesson 2 – Basic Spreadsheet Structure for crisp readability (Cells, Coordinates, Resizing Columns/Rows)

In this article we will teach you about what cells are, how they are on a coordinate system, and how to resize rows and columns.

Table of Contents:

  • Cells Overview
  • Making bigger/smaller vertically and horizontally
  • Merging cells?
  • Worksheets
  • Their purpose

Creating and Saving a Spreadsheet

Let’s first pullback, and introduce what Google Sheets is. It is a program that allows you to create Spreadsheets (kind of in its name). There are multiple programs that do the same thing, the most famous of which is Microsoft Excel. However, what is the main difference between Sheets and Excel? Other than the fact that Excel costs money and Sheets is free, Sheets also is part of a greater Ecosystem of programs created by Google. These include Google Docs, Forms, Slides, etc. 

There are two advantages of this. First, this allows communication between the programs. For example, you can create a survey on Google Forms, and it will automatically create a spreadsheet for you, organizing the survey responses. The other amazing thing is that like Google Docs or Slides, your document is on Google Drive. So if you have a Google Account, you can simply create a spreadsheet, and it will automatically save to your drive every time you make a change. This way, you won’t need a flash drive to transfer documents, or remember to keep pressing save. How do we create a spreadsheet? There are multiple ways, but here are the two simplest:

Method 1:
  1. Log into your Google Account
  2. Go onto
  3. Create a new blank spreadsheet, or select one of their many templates
Method 2:
  1. Log into your Google Account
  2. Type “” into your browser bar

Cells Overview

You may have heard us refer to cells in previous articles, however, what are they exactly? Cells are essentially the basic spreadsheet structure. In layman’s terms, they are the house for each and every number/data point you want to add. Want to add a header? You put it in a cell. Want to add a number? You put it in a cell.

If it is hard to visualize it, look at this photo below where we have outlined the borders of each cell. As you can see, each number has it’s own little “home” if you will. If you notice as well, as we have mentioned in previous articles, each cell has its own “coordinates”, which you can refer to using the letters and numbers on the side.

Shows how the cells are actually just coordinates

For example, in this photo, we have made a grid where each cell is labeled with their corresponding “coordinates.” Notice how you use the letters at the top, and the numbers on the left side, to determine the coordinates of each cell.

Making bigger/smaller

We can manipulate and edit the cells to our liking in many ways. One way we will show you today is by making them larger or smaller. Many times it happens that we want to alter the size of a cell for many different reasons. Maybe it makes your spreadsheet look cleaner, or maybe you want it to stand out more. Whatever the reason is, we will show you how you can change their size vertically and horizontally.

**NOTE: This method cannot change the size of an entire column or row, not just one cell. If you wish other methods of resizing cells, visit our other articles on formatting and also here.

Let’s say we have the following example, where we have a red stripe in the column labeled “C” (remember to use the headers on the sides and top), and a blue one in the row “7”. Our task here is to make the red stripe wider, and the blue one taller.

Shows the example of two lines

Now how do we resize these? This is how:

Step 1: Put your cursor between the column “C” and “D”, you will notice your cursor changes to a double sided arrow. 

Step 2: Click, and drag the column, widening the column itself. 

Let’s say you want to make the blue stripe taller. You can do the same thing, but just with the rows instead of the columns.


One last thing we wanted to note, is the use of multiple worksheets in one spreadsheet. If you are confused by what I mean, that is completely normal. Let me guide you through what I mean.

It is hard to put everything you need onto one spreadsheet, that is why Google Sheets allows you to use multiple “tabs.”  This is how you can create a new tab:

Step 1: All you have to do is simply go to the bottom left and click the plus sign. 

shows where to create a new tab

Step 2: Your new tab will receive a default name. To rename it, first double click on the default name given.

Step 3: Write a new name in, and click enter

Shows how to rename the new worksheet

 Step 4: Congratulations!! You now have a new worksheet in your project.

What is the purpose of this?

Our spreadsheet projects have not become complex enough to need multiple tabs/worksheets, but let me show you an example of what they can do. Let’s say we have the numbers 5 and 6 in one worksheet, but would like to compute their sum in the second tab. What would we do?

Step 1: Start a sum equation as we taught you in lesson 1

Shows how to create a new formula

Step 2: Go to the worksheet tab with the numbers you want to add

Step 3: Click on the numbers as you want them referenced, and fill in the equation. Notice how in the equation, how the cells are referenced not only by their coordinates, but which worksheet they’re on as well

Shows how to reference multiple worksheets within the spreadsheets structure

Step 4: Once you finish the equation, hit enter and voila…your answer!!

Shows the final product and formula

If you are lost, feel free to look at our fully commentated video going over today’s lesson. We hope you learned a lot today about cells, worksheets, and how to resize things within a spreadsheet. These skills are very basic, however they are essential in making more complex spreadsheets in the future. More often than not, spreadsheets will have two or more worksheets within them. Therefore it is essential to learn these skills. We hope you enjoyed this lesson, and as always, happy spreadsheeting! 🙂

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SheetPointers was created by Andrew Lenart and Nikhil Radosevich 

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