Renaming Worksheets

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 2, 2017)


At the bottom of each worksheet in the Excel document window is a small tab that indicates the name of the worksheets in the workbook. Excel names these worksheets using a default name. These names (Sheet1, Sheet2, Sheet3, and so on) are not very descriptive; you might want to rename your worksheets to reflect what they contain. For instance, if your workbook contains your annual budget, each worksheet within the workbook might contain budgets for individual months.

There are three ways you can rename a worksheet, and the only difference between them is the way in which you start the renaming process. You can do any of the following:

  • Double-click on one of the existing worksheet names.
  • Right-click on an existing worksheet name, then choose Rename from the resulting Context menu.
  • Select the worksheet you want to rename (click on the worksheet tab) and then select the Sheet option from the Format menu. This displays a submenu from which you should select the Rename option.

Regardless of the method you choose to rename a worksheet, Excel highlights the name on the worksheet tab and allows you to type a new name. To enter a new name, just start typing. When you press Enter or click anywhere else on the screen, the worksheet tab is renamed. You can use names that are up to 31 characters long, composed of any characters desired. The names can even include spaces.

If you decide you don't want to rename a worksheet after all, you can press Esc at any time to undo your changes. This will not work, of course, after you have completed editing the tab and pressed Enter or clicked elsewhere on the screen. In those cases you need to use the Undo feature.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (1949) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...


Font Substitution Problems

When your document uses fonts that are not available on your computer system, Word substitutes other fonts that it feels ...

Discover More

Speeding Up Opening and Saving a Workbook

Use a workbook for some time and you may find that it gets progressively slower to open and save. Here are some ...

Discover More

Removing Blank Pages at the End of Your Document

You go to print out your document, and all of a sudden notice that there was a blank page that printed at the end. This ...

Discover More

Program Successfully in Excel! John Walkenbach's name is synonymous with excellence in deciphering complex technical topics. With this comprehensive guide, "Mr. Spreadsheet" shows how to maximize your Excel experience using professional spreadsheet application development tips from his own personal bookshelf. Check out Excel 2013 Power Programming with VBA today!

More ExcelTips (menu)

Disabling Moving Between Worksheets

If you want someone to not be able to move from one worksheet to another in a workbook, you've got your work cut out for ...

Discover More

Returning a Worksheet Name

Need to know the name of the current worksheet? You can use the CELL function as the basis for finding this information ...

Discover More

Switching Headers in a Frozen Row

Excel allows you to "freeze" rows in your worksheet. What if you want the rows that are frozen to change as you scroll ...

Discover More

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.


If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 4 + 4?

2017-05-04 12:27:04


I'm thrilled to have found your Excel Tips! I'm currently taking a class in college for Excel Level 1, and have had the hardest time with formulas and other worksheet functions. Thanks to your expert, and very easy to understand advice, I've been able to figure out how to proceed with my second assessment. I've subscribed to your newsletter and will be following your blog. I currently use Excel 2016. Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge! Excel has been very intimidating to learn up to now.

2015-09-13 02:42:33


option greyed out

2015-09-03 07:34:47


if Context menu inside rename option unavailable then what i should (Right-click on an existing worksheet name, then choose Rename from the resulting Context menu)

2014-06-11 16:19:04




This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the menu interface (Excel 97, Excel 2000, Excel 2002, or Excel 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Newest Tips

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.