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A worksheet, in the word's original meaning, is a sheet of paper on which one performs work; in education, a worksheet may have questions for students and places to record answers. In accounting, a worksheet is, or was, a sheet of ruled paper with rows and columns on which an accountant could record information or perform calculations.

In computing, spreadsheet software presents, on a computer monitor, a user interface that resembles one or more paper accounting worksheets. Microsoft Excel, a popular spreadsheet program, refers to a single spreadsheet (more technically, a two-dimensional matrix or array) as a worksheet, and it refers to a collection of worksheets as a workbook.


The word worksheet is a compound noun composed of the words work and sheet.[1] The word's use dates from 1909.[1]


In the classroom setting worksheets usually refer to a loose sheet of paper with questions or exercises for students to complete and record answers,[2] they are used, to some degree, in most subjects, and have widespread use in the math curriculum where there are two major types. The first type of math worksheet contains a collection of similar math problems or exercises, these are intended to help a student become proficient in a particular mathematical skill that was taught to them in class. They are commonly given to students as homework, the second type of math worksheet is intended to introduce new topics, and are often completed in the classroom. They are made up of a progressive set of questions that leads to an understanding of the topic to be learned.[3]

Worksheet generators are often used to develop the type of worksheets that contain a collection of similar problems. A worksheet generator is a software program that quickly generates a collection of problems, particularly in mathematics or numeracy, such software is often used by teachers to make classroom materials and tests. Worksheet generators may be loaded on local computers or accessed via a website.[4][5]


In accounting a worksheet often refers to a loose leaf piece of stationery from a columnar pad, as opposed to one that has been bound into a physical ledger book. From this, the term was extended to designate a single, two-dimensional array of data within a computerized spreadsheet program. Common types of worksheets used in business include financial statements, such as profit and loss reports. Analysts, investors, and accountants track a company's financial statements, balance sheets, and other data on worksheets.

In spreadsheet programs like Microsoft's Excel or the open source LibreOffice Calc, a single document is known as a 'workbook' and may have by default three arrays or 'worksheets'. One advantage of such programs is that they can contain formulae so that if one cell value is changed, the entire document is automatically updated, based on those formulae.


  1. ^ a b Harper, Douglas. "Worksheet". Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved March 7, 2018. 
  2. ^ "Worksheet". Cambridge Dictionaries online. Cambridge University Press. Retrieved 25 September 2014. 
  3. ^ Fauvel, John; Maanen, Jan; van Maanen, J.A. (2000). History in Mathematics Education: An ICMI Study. Springer Science & Business Media. p. 216. ISBN 9780792363996. Retrieved 25 September 2014. 
  4. ^ "Multiplication Worksheet Generator". STEM Sheets. Retrieved 25 September 2014. 
  5. ^ "Math Worksheet Generator". Microsoft Educator Network. Microsoft. Retrieved 25 September 2014.