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Understanding Names

You already know that Excel allows you to use cell ranges within formulas and as arguments to functions. For instance, the following is a formula that uses the SUM function. This function uses a cell range as an argument:

=SUM(D3:D18) * 1.05

While this is perfectly allowable, it might not be very understandable to someone else or to yourself at a later date. You might need to go back and figure out exactly what the cell range D3:D18 represents. To overcome such a problem, Excel allows you to use names to represent individual cells or cell ranges. For example, the cell range D3:D18 could represent the regional sales detail; you could assign the name Regional_Sales to this range, and the formula could be entered as follows:

=SUM(Regional_Sales) * 1.05

When compared to the previous formula, this is much more understandable. Automatically you know what sum the formula is using.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2043) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

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