This is a very simple question. Excel calls their individual documents Workbooks, and their "tabs" sheets. Google has a naming problem with their products, and makes this confusing.

I have a slow workBOOK. With 17 Columns by 5000 rows called jobs.

MY QUESTION My question is if complexity of a sheet is determined by the individual .gsheet regardless of tabs, or if each tab is treated as a brand new sheet.

CONTEXT: I have Split my data into 4+ workBooks in an attempt to simulate a database and import spreadsheets when the are relevant. I work in Construction, so each spread sheet manages:

  • Main Sheet shows all jobs that exist or could exist
  • repeating jobs
  • List employee / Vendor information
  • Addresses (there are 10k) ; probably a fraction of that actually active.

This is a simplified explanation of what each workbook does, BUT some work books do more than other, For exmaple, the Adresses one also tell us:

  • Who are customers are, how to bill them
  • What our agreed upon price is for a given task
  • a contact list akin to what one might find on their phone with titles emails, addresses, and phone#'s
  • A sub category of address that lists blue prints, their sqft, and what codes the builder uses to identify them.

Again my question is if combining all this information into a multitude of "sheets" is faster than having several work books that import eachothers data Faster, meaning less lag.

1 Answer 1


Tl;Dr: Complexity of a spreadsheet is determined by several factors. The number of sheets is one of them but usually it's not the first one to take a look into it.

Regarding terminology...

Excel            Google Sheets

workbook         spreadsheet
sheet            sheet


Regarding "complexity" understanding it as a measure of the loading time, while I personally haven't made any benchmark study, what I do to improve performance is to reduce / split

  1. Add-ons (specially those with complex menus and on open triggers, that are frequently used)
  2. Charts, drawings, over the grid images
  3. Complexity of formulas
    1. Custom functions
    3. volatile functions like NOW, TODAY, RAND, among others
    4. function nesting
    5. formula length
    6. non volatile functions
  4. Blank rows / columns
  5. Sheets
  6. Cells holding data


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