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A 3-D spreadsheet is a spreadsheet that has multiple interacting sheets and 3-D functions to carry out organization, analysis, computation and storage of data. The data are arranged in the form of a stack of tables of the same size and shape. A 3-D spreadsheet application allows users to analyze these data tables either individually or as groups. 3-D spreadsheets are used for tracking, compiling and formulating huge amounts of information as they allow multiple calculations to be executed on multiple worksheets easily.
A 3-D spreadsheet is also known as a multidimensional spreadsheet.
A spreadsheet is organized as a table of rows and columns that enable users to store, organize and manipulate data. The information stored in each cell can be easily accessed with its row and column identifiers. Spreadsheet applications allow the use of formulas to automatically calculate values depending upon the information present in other cells. These formulas can be used to perform various operations from basic arithmetic operations to advanced financial and statistical calculations.
When a spreadsheet allows cross-referencing of cells from different worksheets, it is known as a 3-D spreadsheet. 3-D spreadsheets allow users to include cells from a different spreadsheet or worksheet to be included in a formula used in the current worksheet.
3D-Calc is one of the oldest 3-D spreadsheet applications and can handle up to 13 pages of 2048 rows and 256 columns with its cross-referencing feature.
Most of modern spreadsheet applications also provide cross-referencing functionality and are hence inherently 3-dimensional. Microsoft Excel and similar applications also provide certain 3-D functions that enable users to add an extra dimension to their spreadsheet application. Excel has a feature for making 3-D tables that can have data arranged according to three criteria. For example, one can show the business sales volume with respect to both country and year using a 3-D table.
Excel also allows the use of 3-D formulas where users are allowed to reference cells from other sheets. An example 3-D formula that implements the 3-dimensional scope of a spreadsheet application is:
Using 3-D functions enables users to effectively manage interrelated data and carry out complex calculations easily.