Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Working With Range Names
In order to get the hang of this, first download the Range Names workbook from the topic’s page at The simplest approach to range naming is to select the range you wish to name, click
in the name box, type the name, and press Enter. Thus if you want to give a name to the range A6:A20,
se l e ct those ce l l s, cl i ck i n the n a me box, ty pe In come or a n y othe r n a me y ou wi sh, a n d ta p En te r ( Note:
multi-word range names such as test scores must be joined by an underscore: test_scores. If you omit
the underscore you’ll trigger this error message: “You must enter a valid reference you want to go to,
or type a valid name for the selection.”
The latter half of that caution refers to range names, the first half, to the navigational role played
by the name box we referred to in chapter 2. It’s perfectly legal to name a range with just one letter – a,
or p, something equally spare – and while a one-lettered range name won’t tell you too much about
the range, it’s obviously easy to apply to a formula. Note that your named ranges will be listed when
you click the drop-down arrow alongside the name box; click any such name and Excel will
immediately highlight that range on your workbook. (Figure A-1):
Figure A–1. The Income range name as listed in the name box
An alternative way to compose a range name is particularly apt when your range is topped by a
named header row. Let’s say cells A6:A20 feature a header named Income in cell A5. Select that A6:A20
(note that you need not select A5) and click the Formula tab Define Names in the Defined Name
button group. You’ll see (Figure A–2):
Figure A–2. Defining a range name from a header row
Click OK, and the range is named. Note the range does not include row A5, the row which contributed
that name (as you can see, you could have entered a different name in the Name field, though doing so
would have defeated the purpose of calling upon the header row. Excel decides on the range namehere
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