Using a spreadsheet generally involves several steps. First the application is started to obtain an empty workbook, which generally has several empty worksheets. Next, data and formulas are entered into one or several sheets. The data may be entered by hand or imported from external files. The formulas are generally entered by hand, possibly with the help of various tools. The data may be formatted to appear in particular ways and to clarify the structure of the data in the worksheet. A user may also create several graphical plots. Certain parts of the spreadsheets may be printed out as tables. The work is then usually saved into a file which can be re-opened later to add or modify the contents of the workbook.
The terminology can be confusing. A spreadsheet file contains a workbook and possibly some other information about the file. (Because the workbook is far more important than the extra information, the files themselves are often called workbooks.) A workbook contains one or more worksheets. Each worksheet contains a large number of cells usually arranged into a two dimensional grid made up of columns and rows. We introduce the names of the parts of Gnumeric below in Section 3.3 ― The Parts of Gnumeric and explain the parts further in Chapter 4 ― Gnumeric Elements.