4.3 Worksheet Columns

A worksheet dataset is a one-dimensional array that can contain text or numeric data; or various objects including embedded graphs and images, drawn objects, links to other data, variables, etc. Each column of worksheet values comprises a dataset and each column may be separately configured to control how the contained data display and how Origin handles the data with regard to graphing and analysis operations.

Naming of Datasets

Each dataset has a unique name formed by combining the workbook name, the worksheet name ("!" indicates that the following cell range = the entire column) and the column name:


By default, Origin assigns column Short Names alphabetically in the order in which columns are created, beginning with the leftmost column in the worksheet. Thus, for a workbook with default book, sheet, and column Short Names, datasets in the active sheet would be named something like this:


If Spreadsheet Cell Notation is enabled in the workbook (default), column Short Names cannot be customized. Column Long Names are customizable. If a column Long Name exists and you have selected Use Long Names when available (Preferences: Options: Miscellaneous), the Long Name will be used in place of the Short Name in most places in the user-interface where the dataset name is listed.

Dataset references using Long Names would be similar to those above, but Long Names must be protected with quotation marks:

[Book1]Sheet1!"Col A Long Name"
[Book1]Sheet1!"Col B Long Name"
[Book1]Sheet1!"Col C Long Name"

Generally, you will not need to concern yourself with dataset names while working within the user-interface. When you want to refer to another worksheet column in Set Values, for instance, you simply refer to the column Short Name (A, B, etc.). You will encounter dataset names like those above in places like the left-panel of Plot Details or in the data list at the bottom of the Data menu.

Other pertinent information regarding worksheet columns and datasets:

  • When a dataset is created in a worksheet, data values displayed in the worksheet column are a copy of the dataset in memory. When the dataset is plotted, the data plot is also a representation of the actual datasets in memory. Whenever the data are modified in the worksheet or graph window, the actual dataset will be affected and other representations of the dataset will reflect those modifications.
  • When a dataset is deleted, associated worksheet column values and data plots are also deleted.
  • Datasets may store data plot-type information (referred to as "style holders"). For example, if a dataset is plotted as a line + symbol data plot and a new graph window is opened based on a template which has no data plot style association, the dataset displays as a line + symbol data plot when added to the second graph window.

Topics covered in this section: