See more related video: Introduction to the Origin Workbook
The Origin workbook is similar in appearance to a spreadsheet, but it differs in some important ways. In a spreadsheet, operations are performed on cells or on a range of cells. The cell is the basic unit being operated on. Row and column groupings have no inherent significance. Any relationship between observations in a spreadsheet row or column is created by the user.
In contrast, sheets in the Origin workbook more closely mimic a flat file database, in that each row in the Origin sheet is essentially a record with each cell in that row sharing a common row index number that groups those cells together. So, for instance, the row index number might identify an individual, and each cell in that row might contain a measurement on a different variable associated with that individual. Thus, there exists an underlying association among cells within a row, independent of any explicit association that might be conceived of by the user.
Likewise -- extending the database metaphor -- each cell in the worksheet column contains a measurement on a single variable, creating an inherent relationship among cells within a column. This column of measurements on a single variable serves to define the Origin worksheet dataset.
Because Origin worksheet columns necessarily contain measurements on a single variable, you are able to minimize the amount of memory that must be set aside for data storage. While each and every cell in a spreadsheet must allow for the storage of a wide variety of complex information -- formulae, macros, and the like -- cells in the Origin worksheet must accommodate only a single data type throughout an entire worksheet column. This allows Origin to handle very large datasets -- datasets that up to millions of rows or 10,000 columns (ultimately limited only by system resources). In contrast, spreadsheets are typically limited to 65K rows and 256 columns.