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Row vs Column: What’s the Difference?

If you ever used Excel or a similar app, you probably got confused with the row and column.

After all, what’s the difference between them? They sound the same! However, there is a remarkable distinction between them, and is important to know if you want to understand spreadsheets.

Basically, both of them are in a spreadsheet to make your data easier to understand and read. Without those, you can’t make a table. They are very similar as well.

The key difference between row and column is their direction. Rows are horizontal arrangements of data, objects things, or whatever it be the thing that you put inside of it. They run from left to right. Columns are the vertical arrangements of data, objects, etc, and it runs from top to bottom.

They seem pretty easy to understand now, right? But be careful!

Row and column can mean different things depending on the context that they are in. Also, there are some more fundamental details about them that you need to learn. In order to do so, keep on reading.

The Real Difference Between Row and Column

Both rows and columns are used to distinguish classification, categories, types and more, when they are used in spreadsheets, tables, etc. They are mainly used to bifurcate groups or categories, but each one does that in a different way.

Rows are a group of cells that are horizontally arranged to provide uniformity. Columns are also a group of cells, but this one is vertically arranged, and they run from the top to the bottom.

It is just like a pillar. You can have both of them being applied in many things in your life, like tables, matrix (the mathematical one, not the movie), and even as a way of organizing real-life people or objects.

For example, when you were a kid, is very likely that someday some teacher of yours put you to stand next to another kid in a row. The seats of a movie theatre are organized in a row.

So, in real life, it is easier to see a practical application of the row concept. But that does not mean that columns are useless.

Columns are very important to arrange facts, words, or figures in a way that makes sense and makes it easier for the reader to understand what is being exposed. Many researchers need to use columns daily in their lives.

Inside of a table, as you can see below, columns are separated from each other by lines which enhances its readability and makes everything more organized and aesthetically pleasant.

Row vs Column: Key Differences

  • Is an order in which people, figures, or objects are placed in a straight line or alongside;
  • The total of a row is placed in the extreme right corner of the row itself;
  • Inside of a matrix, horizontal arrays are the row;
  • Rows go across left to right;
  • In most spreadsheets, the row heading is indicated by numbers;
  • Is a vertical division of figures, facts, or anything based on category;
  • Inside of a table, each column is divided from the other through a vertical line;
  • Is arranged from up to down;
  • In most spreadsheets, the column headings are indicated by letters;
  • The total of a column is shown at the bottom;
  • Inside of a matrix, columns are the vertical arrays;

What’s the Difference Between Row and Column?

Inside of spreadsheets programs or apps like MS Excel, there are little things called cells. But what are they? Well, cells are the intersection of a row and a column – that is, the place where a column and a row meet. Every spreadsheet has a cell, and cells are inside the rows.

As I’ve told you before, inside these programs every row is identified by a number, and every column is identified by a letter. A cell is identified by its position. For example, if you think of the cell that intersects row 9 and column A, you thinking of cell A9.

There is a very known classical and fun game where you basically play at a table. It is known as Battleship or Sea Battle.

In this strategy game, there are only two players, that need to guess where are the enemy’s ships and destroy them. All ships are inside of cells, and to destroy them, you need to guess which cell it is.

How Can I Identify Rows and Columns?

The easiest way to identify them is to know what they are displayed.

Columns are vertical and rows and horizontal, so you just need to pay attention to that. Of course, this is the easy way to find a row and column in a spreadsheet.

In real life, it may be a little harder to understand the difference between them. But to make it simpler, just think about how they are organized.

Rows are from left to right, and columns are from top to the bottom. You can see rows in theaters or in the way that kids are organized inside of a school. Columns are visible inside of daily news.

Do you remember the Parthenon in Athens? That beautiful temple has some pillars holding it up. These pillars are also known as columns and are the reason behind it is notable.

In Latin languages like Portuguese, the word “column” is more used to refer to a pillar in buildings than the word “pillar” itself.

What’s the Difference Between Row and Column in Excel?

When you need to create a worksheet in the MS Excel program for the first time, you get easily overwhelmed with the amount of information and resources that this program has to offer.

Is very common that people don’t know where to start when working on an Excel table.

One of your first doubts may be the difference between a column and a row. At first sight, they may seem like the same thing.

Of course, they are both used to help you to organize your data, so you can arrange it logically and concisely inside of a table. However, there are some big differences between them.

A row is disposed horizontally, and you read it from left to right. The column is arranged vertically, and you read it from top to the bottom.

Inside Excel, each row is identified by numbers, such as 1, 2, 3, and 4. The columns are identified by a letter, such as A, B, C, and D.

You can have almost infinite rows and columns in this program.

James Smith

James is a passionate explorer and the creative mind behind, a platform dedicated to unraveling captivating distinctions. With an insatiable curiosity, he uncovers hidden nuances in various aspects of life, from cultural traditions to scientific phenomena. James believes that appreciating differences fosters personal growth and societal empathy.