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How to name a cell or range in Excel?

By giving a meaningful name to a cell or a range of cells in Excel, you can make the cells or ranges much easier to understand and maintain when you use them in a formula, rather than using obscure cell references. For instance, to calculate the total sales (B2:B10), instead of using the formula =SUM(B2:B10), you can assign the name “sales” to the range B2:B10 and use =SUM(sales) to make the formula easier for you to understand. Note that besides cells and ranges, you can also define a name for functions, constants, or tables.

Before you define a name in Excel, please make sure you know the syntax rules for names in Excel:
  • The first character of a name must be a letter, an underscore character (_), or a backslash (\). Remaining characters can be letters, numbers, periods (.), and underscore characters (_). Other characters that haven't been mentioned including spaces are not allowed as part of a name.
  • Single uppercase or lowercase "C", "c", "R", or "r" is not allowed as a defined name, while other single letters are OK.
  • Names can't conflict with cell references, such as Z$100 or C1.
  • Names are not case-sensitive. If you create the name Sales and then another name called sales in the same scope, Excel will prompt you to choose a unique name.
  • A name can contain up to 255 characters.

Name a cell or range by type the name in the Name Box

1. Select the cell or cell range that you want to name. You also can select noncontiguous cells or ranges by holding the Ctrl key.

2. Type the name you will assign to the cell or range in the Name Box.

3. Press Enter to save and define the name.


Name a cell or range with the Define Name option

Although the previous method is the easiest way to define a name, the Define Name option in Excel enables you to do more such as setting the name's scope and adding a comment. Furthermore, Excel's Define Name option allows you to create a name for a constant or formula. Please follow the below steps to name a cell or range with the Define Name option.

1. Select the cell or cell range that you want to name. You also can select noncontiguous cells or ranges by holding the Ctrl key.

2. On the Formulas tab, in the Define Names group, click Define Name.

3. In the pop-up New Name dialog box, please do as follows:
  • In the Name box, type the range name.
  • In the Scope drop-down list, set the name scope within which the name is recognized without qualification (Workbook by default).
  • In the Comment box, leave a comment if you need.
  • In the Refers to box, check the reference and correct it if needed by clicking the up-arrow button at right and selecting a new range. Note: By default, names use absolute cell references. If you'd rather have a relative named range, remove the dollar signs ($) from the reference.

4. Click OK to save and define the name.


Name a cell or range with Excel Name Manager

1. On the Formulas tab, in the Define Names group, click Name Manager. Alternatively, press Ctrl + F3.

2. In the top-left corner of the popping up Name Manager dialog box, click the New… button.

3. The New Name dialog box opens, please create and configure a name as demonstrated in the step 3 of the previous section.

4. Once you are done, click OK to save the changes and close the New Name dialog box, and then click Close to close the Name Manager dialog.


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In some cases, you may want to insert or display a named range data in another sheet, but by default, when you type the formula =name(the range name), and press Enter key, it only inserts the first data of the named range as below screenshot shown. In this article, I introduce the way to quickly insert the whole data of the named range into another sheet.

How To Create Dynamic Named Range In Excel?

Normally, Named Ranges are very useful for Excel users, you can define a series of values in a column, give that column a name, and then you can refer to that range by name instead of its cell references. But most time, you need to add new data to expand the data values of your referred range in future. In this case, you have to go back to Formulas > Name Manager and redefine the range to include the new value. To avoid this, you can create a dynamic named range which means you don´t need to adjust cell references every time when you add a new row or column to the list.

How To Define Named Range Across Worksheets In Excel?

You may think it easy to define a continuous range as a named range in Excel. However, in some cases you need to define a range across multiple worksheets as a named range, could you come up with some workarounds? This article recommends two solutions:

How To Find And Locate Named Ranges In Excel?

We may have created many named ranges in a workbook before. Sometimes, you need to find and locate named ranges for applying formulas or for other purposes. This article will introduce several ways to find, locate and highlight named ranges in Excel quickly.

How To Hide / Unhide All Named Ranges In Excel?

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