How many rows and columns does Excel have?

AUTHOR:  JASON MORRELL 

Jason Morrell

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Up there amongst the big questions for Excel newbies is

’Just how big is Excel?

‘How many rows and columns does an Excel worksheet have?’

Quick Answer: 1,048,576 rows and 16,384 columns!

That's more than you’ll ever use. Keep reading to find how to see this for yourself.

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Excel formulas for beginners

1.  How columns and rows work

All the columns are lettered and all the rows are numbered.

Fig 01: Columns are lettered and rows are numbered

Fig 01: Columns are lettered and rows are numbered

If you were to scroll across the page you reach column Z, then the letters start doubling up with AA, AB and so on. It’s fair to say that if you started scrolling across or down the page now, you would still be scrolling this time tomorrow!

Fig 02: Column Z moves to column AA

Fig 02: Column Z moves to column AA

2. Let's see how many rows and columns there are in Excel

Try this.

1.  Open a blank spreadsheet.

2.  Hold down CTRL and press the right arrow key (cursor key) on the keyboard. You are taken to the right-most column. In the modern versions of Excel this is column XFD, which is 16,384 columns. In older versions of Excel (2003 and prior) the last column was IV which is 256 columns. Which is still plenty!

Fig 03: The last column is labelled XFD

Fig 03: The last column is labelled XFD

3.  Hold down CTRL and press the down arrow key (cursor key) on the keyboard. You are taken to the bottom row. In the modern versions of Excel there are 1,048,576 rows. In older versions of Excel (2003 and prior) there were 65,536 rows

Fig 04: Last column in Excel is 1, 048, 576

Fig 04: Last column in Excel is 1, 048, 576

4.  To return to cell A1, press CTRL and HOME together. This shortcut works in most programs. For example, in Microsoft Word, pressing CTRL HOME will take you to the top of page 1. In Microsoft PowerPoint, pressing CTRL HOME will return you to slide 1.

So as you can see there are more than enough columns and rows.

Several years ago, I met somebody who did run out of rows! Okay, his situation was unusual.

He ran an energy company. Live energy price data was fed into his system every couple of seconds and filtered through to his spreadsheets. His software used this data to buy low and sell high on autopilot. But every couple of weeks he ran out of rows.

But I'm sure you'll be fine!

What do you think?

3. What next?

Please feel free to post any questions you have into the comments below. And before you leave this page, I want to give you one quick little action item! 

ACTION ITEM: Comment below with ONE thing you picked up from this post and share how it has helped, or will help, you. It's good to share your successes because it encourages others and provides an instant boost.

Enjoy the rest of your day!

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About Jason Morrell

About the author

Jason Morrell


Jason loves to simplify the hard stuff, cut the fluff and share what actually works. Things that make a difference. Things that slash hours from your daily work tasks. He runs a software training business in Queensland, Australia, lives on the Gold Coast with his wife and 4 kids and often talks about himself in the third person!

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    • If you are using a very old version of Excel or you are in compatibility mode which uses the old file format (.xls instead of .xlsx) then you will have 256 columns (A to IV) and 65,536 rows. Therefore if you multiply these 2 numbers you have 16,777,216 cells.

      Modern versions of Excel using the .xlsx file format have 16384 columns (A to XFD) and 1,048,576 columns. If you multiply these 2 numbers, you get 17,179,869,184 cells

  • Respected Sir,

    I record 52 Week High of shares on daily basis with 2 or 3 columns as per specifications defined.
    First 2 Columns are Sr No. and names of the company.
    Hence, I am satisfied that there are 16382 columns to record the above data for many months in a single excel sheet.

    Thanks for your shortcut which helps to find adequacy of excel sheet for my work requirement.

    Best regards,
    Padmnabh Arun Donde

    • Good to hear Padmnabh.
      It’s actually 16,384 columns not 16,382, but who’s counting?
      You can have the extra two for free!

        • Kris, I try to help as many people as possible but unfortunately, I cannot remain awake 24 hours a day to answer questions. I have to sleep sometimes! If you are dissatisfied in any way with this free public service then please get in touch and I’ll organise a full refund.

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