Understanding Names

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated July 4, 2020)
This tip applies to Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003


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.

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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