I agree entirely with the OP’s original comment or thinking behind it.
I am in the process of designing a template, made the mistake of highlighting an entire row a certain colour and then continued with merging cells and adding rows to make a header for a costs spreadsheet for a self-building project
The intended spread will have less than ten columns.
Because I made a mistake and did an operation that affects a whole row I now have a neat “active” table that is ten columns wide with a near infinite blue row sticking out the side. It is near impossible to scroll to the right of the table because it contains so many colums and so I am now looking around for a “select all cells to the right of this cell” type function so that I can effectively “set colour on all cells to the right of this cell” and undo my original mistake of colouring an entire row.
Of course someone will helpfully offer a solution I am sure but if it was possible to limit a spreadsheet to a sensible number of columns and rows then people would not search for functionality to undo an change that affected zillions of cells because like me they made a stupid mistake and selected an entire row instead of individual cells.
We have a situation here where people can affect more cells than they might have intended.
They may go on to do more work before realising their mistake.
Like me they may end up with a N x M table which they do not want to throw away yet needing to undo a change on all cells to the right of that table or all cells underneath that table because they were offered functionality that can affect zillions of cells in one easy operation.
I think it would be so much easier if people could confine their work area to a more sensible range so that
they can undo mistakes more easily without having to know an incantation that allows them to selectively
undo an operation on the near infinite unwanted “tail” ( right or beneath) of their intended table.
I have zero evidence but I would still place a bet that more users use tables that are less than 100 columns wide than users that use tables that are more than 100 columns wide. It seems perfectly sensible to me to offer functionality that reduces the table width to a sensible range.
I think some people in this forum have offered very confident assertions “there is no such thing as too large” I think the person who said that may not be thinking about usability in the context of different user levels of expertise. I rarely use spreadsheets but I am highly technical and have 30 years IT software writing experience.
I just want something that works easily.
I have a table of ten columns
I am offered functionality that can affect zillions of columns
Like anyone else I can get myself in a mess and create something that I do not wish to throw away and start
again but where it seems rather painful to selectively undo my mistake on such wide spreadsheets.
I could undo the damage the “long way around” without increasing my expertise or consulting gurus if I could simply lose the X thousand columns to the right of the area I am actually interested in.
Good usability is not about channeling everyone to the path of guru user - its often about giving occasional users an obvious and intuitive path to undoing their mistakes, its also about giving them the ability to restrict ranges so that they can do themselves less damage. It would just be easier for me all around if I could throw away the zillions of columns I do not want and repair my table in a simple fashion.
People simply do not always wish or indeed have time these days to invest in software, its about making things as easy as they can be - I probably first used a spreadsheet before some people on this thread were born but I have never become an expert ( never had the time or need ) yet I can usually do what I want intuitively.
I see the excessively wide spread sheet as an untied shoe lace that can trip people up, just stands out for me as a pitfall waiting for the casual user.
Right time to start again - it will probably be quicker and less frustrating just to rebuild my table manually from the start and this time remembering to select only cell ranges not rows all the way through.
Update - simple intuitive fix was to copy past the cells I actually wanted to a new spreadsheet - easier to select what I wanted to keep rather than trying to select and undo a change on the rest which is excessive as the OP stated. Fine - fixed but I lost 30 mins messing around - it would just have been so much easier if I could have removed the excessive columns.
My reaction and length of posting is because I object to the over confident assertions made by others - usability is rarely served by 1+1=2 arguments.