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: Generating Unique, Sequential Names.

# Generating Unique, Sequential Names

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated October 20, 2018)

Steven is testing some software and he needs to feed into the program a bunch of "fake" names. He would like these names to be patterned such as Nameaaa, Nameaab, Nameaac, and so on through Namezzz. This would require creating 17,576 names (26 x 26 x 26). He wonders if there is an easy way to generate all these names in Excel.

This sort of repetitive task just cries out for a macro. (They are great for doing boring, dull, repetitive tasks that you don't want to do manually.) Here is a simple macro that can do the required grunt work:

```Sub CreateNames()
Dim i As Integer
Dim x As Integer
Dim y As Integer
Dim z As Integer

i = 1
For x = 97 To 122
For y = 97 To 122
For z = 97 To 122
Cells(i, 1) = "Name" & Chr(x) _
& Chr(y) & Chr(z)
i = i + 1
Next
Next
Next
End Sub
```

The macro uses three counter variables (x, y, and z) to serve as "counter variables" that control which letter of the alphabet is appended to the "name" stuffed into a cell. Notice that the For ... Next loops range from 97 to 122, which are the ASCII codes for lowercase a through z.

If you don't want to use a macro for some reason, type the following formula into cell A1 of a blank worksheet:

```="Name" & CHAR((ROW()-1)/676+97)&CHAR(MOD(
(ROW()-1)/26,26)+97)&CHAR(MOD(ROW()-1,26)+97)
```

This is a single formula, and it results in "Nameaaa" being displayed. Copy the formula down through row 17,576 and you'll have your fake names.

Note:

If you would like to know how to use the macros described on this page (or on any other page on the ExcelTips sites), I've prepared a special page that includes helpful information. Click here to open that special page in a new browser tab.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (12128) 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: Generating Unique, Sequential 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. ...

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What is two less than 7?

2018-10-20 11:27:56

Rick Rothstein

Actually, since we are working with fixed ranges, we can use the square bracket shorthand notation for the Evaluate function and shorten up that code line slightly...

'========START CODE========
Sub CreateNames()

Range("A1:A17576") = [IF({1},"Name"&CHAR((ROW(A1:A17576)-1)/676+97)&CHAR(MOD((ROW(A1:A17576)-1)/26,26)+97)&CHAR(MOD(ROW(A1:A17576)-1,26)+97))]

End Sub'========END CODE========

2018-10-20 11:22:30

Rick Rothstein

Since you know of a formula that will work, why not use it in the macro and eliminate all of that looping? The following one-liner (albeit a rather long one) macro will produce the same output as your macro does...

'========START CODE========
Sub CreateNames()

Range("A1:A17576") = Evaluate("IF({1},""Name""&CHAR((ROW(A1:A17576)-1)/676+97)&CHAR(MOD((ROW(A1:A17576)-1)/26,26)+97)&CHAR(MOD(ROW(A1:A17576)-1,26)+97))")

End Sub
'========END CODE========

Note: If you only want to create a partial list, say 5000 names instead of the entire list of 17576 total names, simply change the range you are assigning to from Range(*A1:A17576") to Range("A1:A5000")... nothing else has to change.

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