As an English learner, I sometimes got confused the difference between spreadsheet and sheet.

Though I know what they mean, it seems that they both are referring to data in a table.

If I Google these words, most of the results are about how to use the software or features of the software.

However, I would really like to know what is the difference and why the word "spread" is used in the word.


1 Answer 1


Sheet has several meanings: bedlinen, a flat area of something, a sheet of paper. The term spreadsheet has been coined for a particular computer application for manipulating data as though on a printed page, and that is what we would normally call such software. Google Sheets seems to be their own name for their own particular version of spreadsheets.

  • 1
    The word "spreadsheet" predates computer software. It was originally a term for a bookkeeping table that was so large that it spread across two pages of an account book or was printed on double-size paper. This term was adopted by software companies to imply that the software is useful for keeping track of large tables of data. Nov 4, 2020 at 14:09
  • @CanadianYankee Thanks very much, this is the answer I'm looking for. Nov 6, 2020 at 8:57

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .