Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
You cannot use symbols, except for underscores and periods. Although not documented, I've found that
Excel also permits a backslash (\) and question mark (?) as long as they don't appear as the first character in a
name.
Names are limited to 255 characters. I can't think of a single reason anyone would want to create a name any-
where near 255 characters in length.
You can use single letters (except for R or C). However, generally I don't recommend this because it also de-
feats the purpose of using meaningful names.
Names are not case sensitive. The name AnnualTotal is the same as annualtotal. Excel stores the name ex-
actly as you type it when you define it, but it doesn't matter how you capitalize the name when you use it in a for-
mula.
Although periods are allowed, you can't use a period if the resulting name can be construed as a range address.
For example A1.A12 is not a valid name because it's equivalent to the address A1:A12.
Excel also uses a few names internally for its own use. Although you can create names that override Excel's in-
ternal names, you should avoid doing so unless you know what you're doing. Generally, avoid using the following
names: Print_Area, Print_Titles, Consolidate_Area, Database, Criteria, Extract, FilterDatabase, and Sheet_Title.
Creating names using the Name box
A faster way to create a name for a cell or range is to use the Name box. The Name box is the drop-down list
box to the left of the Formula bar. Select the cell or range to name, click the Name box, type the name, and then
press Enter to create the name. If a name already exists, you can't use the Name box to change the range to
which that name refers. Attempting to do so simply selects the original range. You must use the Name Manager
dialog box to change the reference for a name.
When you type a name in the Name box, you must press Enter to actually record the
name. If you type a name and then click in the worksheet, Excel won't create the name.
To create a worksheet-level name using the Name box, precede the name with the active worksheet's name, fol-
lowed by an exclamation point. For example, to create the name Total as a worksheet-level name for Sheet1,
type this into the Name box and press Enter:
Sheet1!Total
If the worksheet name contains any spaces, enclose the sheet name in single quote, like this:
‘Summary Sheet'!Total
Because the Name box works only on the currently selected range, typing a worksheet name other than the act-
ive worksheet results in an error.
If you type an invalid name (such as May21 , which is a cell address), Excel activates that address (and doesn't
warn you that the name is not valid). If the name you type includes an invalid character, Excel displays an error
message.
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