Synchronized Workbook and Worksheet Names

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated November 2, 2013)

If you work with older workbooks, you may notice something weird happening with them. I opened an old workbook recently, and it contained only a single worksheet. In this workbook, the name of the worksheet is always the same as the name of the workbook. If the workbook name changes (perhaps I rename it in Windows), the worksheet name also automatically changes to the same name.

This behavior is not something that is native to newer versions of Excel, but is with older versions. In very old versions of Excel (versions 2.1 and 3), there was no such thing as worksheets; there were simply spreadsheet files. Excel 4 allowed you to have multiple worksheets, but if you only had one of them, then the worksheet name would always equal the name of the workbook, by default.

When you open an older spreadsheet file in a newer version of Excel that does support worksheets, Excel will show a single worksheet that has the same name as the file in which it is contained. If you exit Excel, change the name of the file, and then open the file again, you should notice that the name of the worksheet has changed as well.

To change this behavior, just use the Save As command to save the workbook using the file format that is appropriate for your version of Excel. If you then rename the workbook, the worksheet name should not change.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (1950) 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. ...

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