How to Work With Worksheet Tabs in Microsoft Excel

Every Microsoft Excel workbook contains at least one worksheet. You can create multiple worksheets to help organize your data, and each sheet is shown as a tab at the bottom of the Excel window. These tabs make it easier to manage your spreadsheets.

You may have a workbook that contains worksheets for each year for company sales, each department for your retail business, or each month for your bills.

To efficiently manage more than one spreadsheet in a single workbook, we have some tips to help you work with tabs in Excel.

Insert a New Tab

To add another Excel worksheet to your workbook, click the tab after which you want to insert the worksheet. Then, click the plus sign icon on the right of the tab bar.

The new tab is numbered with the next sequential sheet number, even if you’ve inserted the tab in another location. In our example screenshot, our new sheet is inserted after Sheet3, but is numbered Sheet6.

Excel Add Tab

Rename a Tab

New tabs are named Sheet1, Sheet2, etc. in sequential order. If you have multiple worksheets in your workbook, it’s helpful to name each of them to help you organize and find your data.

To rename a tab, either double-click on the tab name or right-click on it and select Rename. Type a new name and press Enter.

Keep in mind that each tab must have a unique name.

Excel Rename Tab

Color a Tab

Along with renaming tabs, you can apply color to them so that they stand out from the rest. Right-click the tab and put your cursor over Tab Color. Select a color from the pop-out window. You’ll notice a nice selection of Theme Colors, Standard Colors, and More Colors if you want to personalize the color.

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Excel Color Tab

If you have a lot of tabs, they may not all display at once, depending on the size of your Excel window. There are a couple of ways you can scroll through your tabs.

On Windows, you’ll see three horizontal dots on one or both ends of the tab bar. Click the three dots on one end to scroll through the tabs in that direction.

You can also click the right and left arrows on the left side of the tab bar to scroll through the tabs. These arrows also have other uses, as indicated by the popup that displays when you move your cursor over one of them.

Excel Scroll Tabs - Arrows

On Mac, you’ll only see the arrows on the left side of the tab bar for scrolling.

View More Tabs on the Tab Bar

On Windows, the scrollbar at the bottom of the Excel window takes up room that could be used for your worksheet tabs. If you have a lot of tabs, and you want to see more of them at once, you can widen the tab bar.

Hover your cursor over the three vertical dots to the left of the scrollbar, until it turns into two vertical lines with arrows. Click and drag the three dots to the right to make the tab bar wider. You’ll start seeing more of your tabs display.

Excel Scroll Tab Dots

Need to print your Excel sheet? We show you how to format the document to print your spreadsheet on a single page.

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Copy or Move a Tab

You can make an exact copy of a tab in the current workbook or in another open workbook, which is useful if you need to start with the same data. You can also move a tab to another location in the same workbook or a different open workbook.

Right-click on the tab and select Move or Copy.

In the Move or Copy dialog box, the currently active workbook is selected by default in the To book dropdown list. If you want to copy or move the tab to a different workbook, make sure that workbook is open and select it from the list. Remember, you can only copy or move tabs to open workbooks.

Excel Move Or Copy Tab

In the Before sheet list box, select the sheet (tab) before which you want to insert the tab. If you’d rather move or copy the tab to the end, pick Move to End.

Copying a Tab

If you’re copying the tab, and not moving it, make sure to check the Create a copy box. If you don’t check the Create a copy box, the tab will be moved to the chosen location instead of copied.

Excel Create Tab Copy

The copied tab will have the same name as the original tab followed by a version number. You can rename the tab as we described in the Rename a Tab section above.

Moving a Tab

If you move the tab, the name will remain the same; a version number is not added.

If you only want to move a tab within the same workbook, you can manually drag it to the new location. Click and hold the tab until you see a triangle on the upper-left corner of the tab. Then, drag the tab until the triangle points to where you want it and then release it.

Excel Move Tab Triangle

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Delete a Tab

You can delete worksheets (tabs) in your workbook, even those containing data. You will lose the data on a deleted Excel worksheet, and it might cause errors if other worksheets refer to data on the deleted worksheet. So be sure that you actually want to remove the sheet.

Since a workbook must contain at least one spreadsheet, you can’t delete a sheet if it’s the only one in your workbook.

To delete an Excel worksheet, right-click on the tab for the sheet and select Delete.

Excel Delete Tab

If the worksheet you’re deleting contains data, a dialog box displays. Click Delete, if you’re sure you want to delete the data on the worksheet.

Hide a Tab

You may want to keep a worksheet and its data in your workbook but not see the sheet. You can take care of this easily by hiding a tab instead of deleting it.

Right-click the tab and choose Hide from the shortcut menu. You’ll see the tab and the sheet disappear from the workbook view.

To make a hidden tab reappear, right-click any tab in the workbook and select Unhide. If you have more than one hidden tab, pick the one you want to see and click OK.

Excel Unhide Tab

Keep Your Excel Data Organized

Tabs are a great way to keep your Excel data organized and make it easy to find. You can personalize the tabs to organize your data in the best way that suits your needs.

You can also speed up navigation and data entry on your worksheets using keyboard shortcuts, as well as use these tips to save time in Excel.

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