Defining a Name

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated July 4, 2020)

Names are used so that you can refer to a single cell or a cell range using something meaningful to you. You can define a name using Excel's menus by following these steps:

  1. Select the cell or cell range you want the name to represent.
  2. Choose Name from the Insert menu, and then Define from the resulting submenu. Excel displays the Define Name dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. Define Name dialog box.

  4. Replace the suggested name (if any) with the name you want to use for the cell or cell range you selected in step 1.
  5. Click on Add. Your name is now defined.
  6. Click on OK to close the Define Name dialog box.

The names you define in Excel can be up to 255 characters in length and contain any numbers or letters, as well as the period, backslash, question mark or underscore. Names cannot contain any other special characters, including spaces. In addition, names must start with either a letter, backslash or the underscore.

You can also define a name by using the formula bar. To use this method, follow these steps:

  1. Select the cell or cell range you want the name to represent.
  2. Click in the area at the very left of the formula bar.
  3. Type the name you want to define, pressing Enter when done.

The name is defined and appears in the formula bar area whenever the cell or cells are selected.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2044) 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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Proper Comparisons for Dates in Merge Fields

How Word merges a data source with a document is controlled by merge fields. In those fields you may want to compare ...

Discover More

Stopping Automatic Changes from Being Tracked

Track Changes is a great feature for keeping track of what gets changed in a document. There are some things (such as ...

Discover More

Default Worksheet when Opening

When opening a workbook, you may want to make sure that a particular worksheet is always displayed first. The only way to ...

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)

Embedding Fonts in Excel

Unlike some other programs (like Word), Excel doesn't provide a way for you to embed fonts in a workbook. Here's a ...

Discover More

Embedding Your Phone Number in a Workbook

Want to provide a bit of contact information in a workbook? A great place to do it (out of sight, but not inaccessible) ...

Discover More

Changing Your Company Name

The installation process for Office and Excel allows you to specify a company name. If your company name later changes, ...

Discover More
Subscribe

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

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

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 3 + 8?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


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
Subscribe

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.