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.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated April 17, 2017)
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.
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.
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!
Place a cell reference in a macro, modify the structure of your worksheet, and you may soon find that the cell reference ...Discover More
Need to normalize your data in some way so that all your values are in a given format? This tip presents a number of ...Discover More
You can create macros that run whenever Excel detects a certain event happening within an entire workbook. This tip ...Discover More
FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."
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.