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: Changing the Reference in a Named Range.

Changing the Reference in a Named Range

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated April 10, 2021)
This tip applies to Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003


Using named ranges can be very handy when you are working with formulas or when you just want to keep track of what certain cells in a worksheet are used for. At some point, however, you may want to change the cells referred to by an existing named range. For instance, if a named range called MyRange refers to cells A1:A5, you may want to have it refer to cells C7:C19 instead.

There are two ways you can accomplish this task. First, you could follow these steps:

  1. Choose Name from the Insert menu and then choose Define. Excel displays the Define Name dialog box.
  2. In the list of names shown in the dialog box, click once on the name whose reference you want to change. (In this case, choose MyRange.) The existing reference should show up in the Refers To box at the bottom of the dialog box. (In this case it should show something like =Sheet1!$A$1:$A$5.)
  3. Modify the range reference in the Refers To box. (In this case, change it to =Sheet1!$C$7:$C$19.)
  4. Click OK.

The second way you can redefine the named range is to follow these steps:

  1. Select the new cell range. (In this case, select the range C7:C19.)
  2. Choose Name from the Insert menu and then choose Define. Excel displays the Define Name dialog box.
  3. In the Names in Workbook box, type MyRange. (Don't click on MyRange in the list of names; type MyRange into the Names in Workbook box.)
  4. Click Add.
  5. Click OK.

That's it; MyRange now refers to cells C7:C19 instead of A1:A5.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (8234) 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: Changing the Reference in a Named Range.

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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