Is Excel a database?

Excel isn’t a database but an application to work with spreadsheets. However, those spreadsheets can be used to create databases that can later be exported to other programs where they can be managed, as is the case of Access.

Maybe you should know that a database is basically a place where loads of different kinds of information organized by different data types are stored on a single reference. Each piece of data is grouped with those of the same class on a table. An Excel spreadsheet would be the equivalent of each one of those tables. In other words, a set of Excel spreadsheets could be used to build a database.

Nevertheless, you could have introduced on a single spreadsheet several columns that indicate a feature about the input data (that will be distributed by rows if you’ve organized them correctly). With all that information, you’ll later be able to build a relational database on which you can make queries each time you want to extract specific information from a registry.

But as we said above, there are other programs to work with databases, whilst the purpose behind Microsoft Excel is different:

  • Organize a large volume of data which can be explored easily.
  • Insert and edit data manually.
  • Share copies of the files.
  • View graphical representations of the information.
  • Integrate our work with other office software.
  • Make the most of the use of formulas.

Nevertheless, it’s not appropriate as database software because the data can be inconsistent, because it’s not functional when it comes to crossing queries, and because of its performance problems with large-sized documents.