4 Workbooks Worksheets and Worksheet Columns

Video Image.png See more related video: Introduction to the Origin Workbook

The Origin workbook is similar in appearance to a spreadsheet, but it differs in some important ways. In a spreadsheet, operations are performed on cells or on a range of cells. The cell is the basic unit being operated on. Row and column groupings have no inherent significance. Any relationship between observations in a spreadsheet row or column is created by the user.

In contrast, sheets in the Origin workbook more closely mimic a flat file database, in that each row in the Origin sheet is essentially a record with each cell in that row sharing a common row index number that groups those cells together. So, for instance, the row index number might identify an individual, and each cell in that row might contain a measurement on a different variable associated with that individual. Thus, there exists an underlying association among cells within a row, independent of any explicit association that might be conceived of by the user.

Likewise -- extending the database metaphor -- each cell in the worksheet column contains a measurement on a single variable, creating an inherent relationship among cells within a column. This column of measurements on a single variable serves to define the Origin worksheet dataset.

Because Origin worksheet columns necessarily contain measurements on a single variable, you are able to minimize the amount of memory that must be set aside for data storage. While each and every cell in a spreadsheet must allow for the storage of a wide variety of complex information -- formulae, macros, and the like -- cells in the Origin worksheet must accommodate only a single data type throughout an entire worksheet column. This allows Origin to handle very large datasets -- datasets that up to millions of rows or 10,000 columns (ultimately limited only by system resources). In contrast, spreadsheets are typically limited to 65K rows and 256 columns.

Topics covered in this section: