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Referencing Worksheet Tabs

Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Excel 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Excel, click here: Referencing Worksheet Tabs.

Myrna asked if there was a way to use the information in a worksheet tab within a cell. In particular, she named her tabs using dates, and wants to use those dates within the worksheet itself.

There are two ways to go about this. If the names of your worksheet tabs consist only of dates (no other text in them), then you can use the following Excel formula to extract the date:

=MID(CELL("filename"),FIND("]",CELL("filename"),1)+1,10)

This works because =CELL("filename") function returns the complete path and name of the current file along with the text on the worksheet tab. The filename itself appears in square brackets. The formula finds the position of the closing bracket and extracts the first eight characters from that position to the end. (Dates can be expressed in a maximum of 10 characters, as in 12-31-2011.)

One caveat with using this formula is that it only returns anything of value if you first save the workbook. If you use it in a brand new, unsaved workbook, it will return a #VALUE error.

Another approach that is very appealing, particularly if you have additional text in the worksheet tab, is to create a user-defined function. For instance, let's assume that your worksheet tabs have the name "Month Ending 10-31-11". In this case, you could use a function such as the following:

Function SheetName() As Date
    Dim sTab As String
    Application.Volatile
    sTab = ActiveSheet.Name
    sTab = Trim(Right(sTab, 8))
    SheetName = CDate(sTab)
End Function

To use this function in your worksheet, you simply enter the following in a cell:

=SheetName()

The function returns a date serial number, so you will need to format the cell using one of the available date formats. The function works because it assumes that the date is the last 8 characters of the text in the worksheet tab. If your worksheet tabs use a different naming convention (such as placing the date at the beginning of the tab or using 10 digits for the date), then all you need to do is pull the name apart differently in the macro.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (1951) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Excel (Excel 2007 and later) here: Referencing Worksheet Tabs.

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