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Excel - Specifications and limitations of Sheets

August 2015


Excel - Specifications and limitations of Sheets



This tips aims to provide some information on the rationale of values ??(specifications and limits) apparently arbitrary under Excel:
  • Why is there a limitation of 256 displayable characters in a cell and not 250 or 300?
  • Why 16,384 columns in Excel 2007, and not 16,000 or 17,000?

Situation


"I'm faced with a limitation of 65,536 rows under Excel, but I do not understand the reasons for this limitation.. Could someone explain the logic behind?

Explanations


A byte consists of 8 bits (binary digit: 0 or 1) and can be represented as 2 ^ 8 = 256 different values. Hence the restriction
  • 256 ASCII codes
  • 256 displayable characters in an Excel cell,
  • 256 columns in Excel 2003, etc..


Other limitations:
  • With 2 bytes, or 16 bits, you can define 2 ^ 16 = 65536 values, number of rows in Excel 2003.
  • With 14 bits, you can define 2 ^ 14 = 16384 values. This is the number of columns in Excel 2007.
  • With 20 bits, you can define 2 ^ 20 = 1048576 values. This is the number of rows in Excel 2007.


In the Excel 2007 Help Topics go to the "Specifications and limits for spreadsheets and workbooks" chapter:
You shall notice that that most of these limitations are based on power of 2:
  • 2 ^ 4 = 16 layers and line styles
  • 2 ^ 5 = 32 styles, fields in a form
  • 2 ^ 9 = 512 fonts for workbook
  • 2 ^ 10 = 1024 page breaks
  • 2 ^ 15 = 32767 characters stored in a cell.


It should be noted that Excel 2010 specifications are the same as the ones used for Excel 2007.
For unlimited offline reading, you can download this article for free in PDF format:
Excel-specifications-and-limitations-of-sheets.pdf

See also

In the same category

Original article published by Raymond PENTIER. Translated by jad05.
This document entitled « Excel - Specifications and limitations of Sheets » from CCM (ccm.net) is made available under the Creative Commons license. You can copy, modify copies of this page, under the conditions stipulated by the license, as this note appears clearly.