Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Excel 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Excel, click here: Finding Unused Names.

Finding Unused Names

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated December 9, 2014)

6

Richard has a workbook that he's been using for a while, and it has quite a few names in it (named ranges, named formulas, etc.). He wonders if there is an easy way to find names that are not used at all, as he'd like to get rid of those names.

There is no built-in way to get rid of these unused names. You can, however, create a macro that will do the trick for you. This is most easily done by using the Find method to figure out which names have references that can be "found." If the reference cannot be found, then the name is not in use.

Sub RidOfNames()
    Dim myName As Name
    Dim fdMsg As String

    On Error Resume Next
    fdMsg = ""
    For Each myName In Names
        If Cells.Find(What:=myName.Name, _
          After:=ActiveCell, _
          LookIn:=xlFormulas, _
          LookAt:=xlPart, _
          SearchOrder:=xlByRows, _
          SearchDirection:=xlNext, _
          MatchCase:=False, _
          SearchFormat:=False).Activate = False Then
            fdMsg = fdMsg & myName.Name & vbCr
            ActiveWorkbook.Names(myName.Name).Delete
        End If
    Next myName
    If fdMsg = "" Then
        MsgBox "No unused names found in the workbook"
    Else
        MsgBox "Names Deleted:" & vbCr & fdMsg
    End If
End Sub

The macro steps through all the elements of the Names collection and does a search for each name. If the name cannot be found, then the name is deleted. When the macro is completed, it displays a message box that lists the names that were removed from the workbook.

If you would rather not create your own macro, you can opt to use a free add-in by Jan Karel Pieterse. The add-in, called Name Manager, allows you to (guess what?) manage names better than you can do with native Excel. One of the functions it provides is the ability to get rid of names that are no longer needed. You can find the add-in here:

http://www.jkp-ads.com/OfficeMarketPlaceNM-EN.asp

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (3312) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Excel (Excel 2007 and later) here: Finding Unused Names.

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

Mixing Column Formats On a Page

Want to switch the number of columns used for your text, in the middle of a page? You can do this very easily by ...

Discover More

Dealing with Run-On Sentences

A common task when editing documents is to break up run-on sentences. You can make this task a little easier by using the ...

Discover More

Erratic Behavior of Ctrl+PgDn

Have you ever noticed that when you use Ctrl+PgDn or Ctrl+PgUp that Word may give you results you didn't expect. Here's ...

Discover More

Solve Real Business Problems Master business modeling and analysis techniques with Excel and transform data into bottom-line results. This hands-on, scenario-focused guide shows you how to use the latest Excel tools to integrate data from multiple tables. Check out Microsoft Excel 2013 Data Analysis and Business Modeling today!

More ExcelTips (menu)

Changing Multiple Cells at Once

Excel includes several different methods of editing information in your cells. If you want to edit multiple cells all at ...

Discover More

Ensuring Standard Units During Data Entry

Need to make sure that information entered in a worksheet is always in a given unit of measurement? It's not as easy of a ...

Discover More

Entering Numbers in Excel

Enter information into a cell, and Excel needs to figure out what type of information it is. Here's how Excel interprets ...

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 9 - 4?

2017-08-10 09:11:06

Fred Hazan

This only removes the named range if its used in the same sheet. What if its used in another sheet or vba? Dangerous code to run if you don't check all locations.


2017-02-26 05:44:00

Willy Vanhaelen

THIS IS A VERY DANGEROUS MACRO. I tested it in a workbook with many names and it deleted most of them because they were only used in vba code. It also deleted one used in a conditional format formula.


2017-02-26 01:27:07

seo jeong youll

Thank's for your service.


2016-09-20 11:26:50

DK

Code looks correct, but for some reason it deletes names that are actually being used by cells O_o


2014-11-14 10:47:39

Michael (Micky) Avidan

Beside trying with 2-3 names - it searches the entire workbook.
Michael (Micky) Avidan
“Microsoft® Answers" - Wiki author & Forums Moderator
“Microsoft®” MVP – Excel (2009-2015)
ISRAEL


2014-11-13 16:36:09

Steve

Does this search the entire workbook or only the active sheet? Thanks.


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.