Websheet Help


Websheet is a demonstration of a non-trivial, JavaScript, browser-based application incorporating examples of XHTML, CSS and JavaScript coding. It also makes use of a server side XML-based validation engine. In addition to demonstrating various web technologies, Websheet also performs a useful function: it is a fully functional (though currently basic) spreadsheet. It is intended that eventually Websheet will be a standards compliant, platform independent, location independent application, allowing the user to work on their spreadsheets anywhere and at any time.

Basic Concepts


A websheet is a two-dimensional grid of cells. You may work on only one websheet at a time within a browser window. Websheets are currently stored on your own computer, smart phone, PDA or set-top box, where suitable storage facilities are available. You can start a new websheet (which replaces the one, if any, you are currently working on), open a previously saved websheet or save your work in progress.

Websheets are organized by columns and rows of cells. Each cell may contain a value, a formula to calculate or derive that value and optionally, some formatting information that determines how the value will be presented, for example: as a date or currency amount, coloured red or in bold font.

Cell values are numeric or text according to their type.

Cell References

Individual cells are identified and referred to by the column and row that each one intersects. The column, denoted by a letter or letters, is quoted first, followed immediately by the row number. For instance, the third cell in the second row would be referred to by the "address" C3. Cell references are used in formulae, which are used to define a cell's value in terms of other values or the contents of other cells.

References come in two varities: relative and absolute. Relative references are the more usual form. If you copy and paste cell contents with formulae that have relative references, those references will be automatically updated. For instance, if cell B3 refers to cell A2 (one row above and one column to the left) and is copied and pasted into cell D5, then the formula of D5 refers to the corresponding cell relative to D5, i.e. C4. Absolute references always refer to the same cell regardless, whether they are copied or not. In the preceding example, D5's formula would refer to cell A2. Absolute references are distinguished from relative ones by prefixing the column and/or row portion of the reference with @. E.g. @A@2.

Cell Spans

Sometimes you want to refer to a subset of the cells in a websheet. A rectangular group of cells can be referred to by means of a cell span. This identifies the top left and bottom right corners of a rectangle of cells inclusively. The references to the corner cells are separated by the span operator :. For example, the span A2:C3 refers to the 3 × 2 group of cells including A2, B2, C2, A3, B3 and C3.

Cell Selection & Editing

To edit the content of a cell, click on it, or, start typing while the cell is highlighted. To select one or a rectangular group of cells, drag the mouse or your finger or stylus across the selection, according to what device you're using. The selected cells will be highlighted with a bold blue background. To select a complete column, click on the column header; to select a complete row, click on the row number. Hovering over a column header or row number will highlight the corresponding column or row in pale blue.


Formulae are the method by which Websheet carries out calculations. The value of a cell can be determined by means of a formula that applies operators to the values of other cells or constants supplied by the formula. Websheet re-calculates the formula for a cell whenever you edit the cell's formula or change the value of any other cell on which the formula relies. Likewise, if the cell changes value because its formula has changed, other cells on which it depends have changed or you replace the formula with a constant value, any cells whose formulae in turn refer to this cell, may need to be recalculated. Websheet will do this automatically for you.