Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Using Cell Addresses and Range Names
INSIDE OUT Select rows, columns, and entire sheets
To select an entire row or column, click the row heading or column heading,
respectively. To select multiple columns or rows, drag the selection across multiple headings
(or hold down the Ctrl key as you select additional rows or columns). To select all cells
in a worksheet (so that you can apply global formatting, for example), click the
unlabeled Select All button in the upper left corner of the sheet, just below the Name box.
To reference a range that includes all the cells in a given row or column, use the row
number or column letter by itself. Thus, a reference to 5:5 means all cells in row 5, and
AC:AE refers to all cells in columns AC, AD, and AE.
Using Cell Addresses and Range Names
The Name box, just to the left of the formula bar (above the current worksheet contents),
shows the address of the active cell. This is true even if the current selection consists of a
You can jump to any cell by entering its address in the Name box and pressing Enter. If you
enter the address of a contiguous range in the Name box (H8:J10, for example), pressing
Enter selects that range and makes the cell in the upper left corner of that range active and
ready to accept input.
The Name box has a much more practical use, however. Excel allows you to assign names
to any cell or range or to a formula or constant. If your worksheet includes a table listing
sales tax rates by state, you can define each rate using a descriptive name: CASalesTaxRate,
AZSalesTaxRate, and so on. You can then use those names in place of the corresponding
cell or range address in formulas. On an invoice worksheet, for example, you can define
Items_Total as the name for the cell that sums up the price of all items in the order and
then use a formula like this one to calculate the sales tax for California residents:
That’s easier to understand than =D14*E76, isn’t it? The advantage of using a range name is
especially apparent when you have to review and revise a worksheet that someone else
created (or even one that you created months or years earlier). Think of range names as a part
of the documentation of the logic and structure of a worksheet and workbook.
Excel creates some names automatically—when you define a table or a print range, for
example—but you can also define names manually. The simplest way to define a name is to
select a cell or range, click in the Name box, type a name, and press Enter. For more control
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