Teacher Tech blog with Alice Keeler

Paperless Is Not a Pedagogy

Alice Keeler

Spreadsheet Tips: What Are Tabs?

Spreadsheet Tips: What Are Tabs?

If you have ever opened a spreadsheet you may or may not have noticed the tabs at the bottom. Below the rows you will notice what looks kind of like the tabs on file folders. Like file folder tabs, these tabs organize a different set of records.


One of the beauties of spreadsheets is the ability to utilize tabs to keep your information very organized. Typically my first tab would be a class roster. Another tab might track classroom participation. Another tab might show a seating chart. If we are taking a field trip, another tab would list who has brought in the permission slip.

Make a New Tab

In Google Spreadsheet click on the plus button in the bottom left of the spreadsheet to create a new tab. You can rename the tab by double clicking on the tab.

List All The Tabs

In my Epic Rubric template I have over 30 tabs, they are not all visible at once. If you have more than a handful of tabs you can access the other tabs in a couple of ways. In Google Spreadsheet, next to to the plus icon at the bottom, is an icon with 4 lines. This is a list of the tabs, click on it to choose a new tab. You can scroll in the list as well.

There are also right and left arrows to right of the visible tabs that can help you to view more tabs.

Look for Tabs

Tabs really are a key element of spreadsheets, very likely a spreadsheet that is shared with you has multiple tabs. When you get a new spreadsheet, make a point of observing the tabs and clicking on them.

Google Spreadsheet Tip

One nice feature of Google Spreadsheet is the ability to link directly to a tab and not just the spreadsheet. Copying the URL while on a particular tab gives you a unique URL to that TAB. The full spreadsheet is available through the link, but the initial landing page will be the tab you were on when you copied the URL.

Google Docs have notoriously ugly URL’s. Here is one URL from a spreadsheet

Each spreadsheet has the same start:

After the key= is the unique code for that spreadsheet.

Following the spreadsheet key can be the TAB ID NUMBER. This tab code starts with the pound key and gid= followed by the number of the tab. Even if you reorder the tabs, the tab number does not change.


When I am sending an email and I want to bring the recipients attention to different tabs I will oftentimes link to each tab rather than simply direct the person to click on a certain tab. This helps to make sure there is not any confusion about what a tab is or what is the right tab. Thus if I need the person to look at 3 tabs I will link to each of the 3 tabs. I find this particularly helpful for when I am communicating information to students, giving them the direct link to the tab we are working on reduces the amount of time I have to spend making sure everyone is on the same page.

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