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Definition of Cell in Computer and Computing

There are several definitions of the word “cell” in various scientific and non-scientific fields. However, in this context, we would be dealing with the definition of cell in the computing sector just like our heading reads. In spreadsheet applications, cells are small, rectangular boxes formed by the intersection of columns and rows.

Spreadsheets are typically made up of vertical and horizontal lines, which form rows and columns in a grid-like fashion. A cell, therefore, is a specific location within a spreadsheet where data can be entered. This data could either be numeric, alphanumeric, text, currencies or even formulas. Quite similar to the biological understanding of a cell, each cell in the spreadsheet functions as an independent entity.

Cell Address/Cell Referencing

Practically every spreadsheet you would see around today uses letters to identify columns and numbers to identify rows. Cells, being the product of an interplay between rows and columns, are usually referenced by a combination of letters and numbers. The first cell on a spreadsheet is cell A1. This simply means that the cell is on column A, row 1.

Similarly, cell D9 would be located on the fourth column (D) and ninth row (9) of a spreadsheet. A1 and D8 would therefore be known as the cell address or cell reference. You can easily determine your cell reference by using the arrows keys in your keyboard, or by clicking on a cell with your mouse. Whenever either of these is done, you would observe that the column and row headers would be highlighted.

For instance, when cell D9 is clicked on, the “D” column header and “8” row header would be highlighted (most probably in yellow). In this case, D9 has now become the active cell. You would recall that the cell functions as an individual entity, independent of the spreadsheet. In this highlighted state, any changes made on the spreadsheet will the restricted to the active cell alone.

More Facts About The Cell

You might also want to note that spreadsheets have an unending number of rows and columns, which of course eventually translates to an unending number of cells. There is therefore no restriction to the number of cells you can create because the cells continually increase with an increase of your input data.


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