Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Shortcuts for Creating Cell and Range Names
Rules for naming names
Although Excel is quite flexible about the names that you can define, it does have some rules:
Names can’t contain any spaces. You might want to use an underscore or a period
character to simulate a space (such as Annual_Total or Annual.Total ).
You can use any combination of letters and numbers, but the name must begin with a
letter or underscore. A name can’t begin with a number (such as 3rdQuarter ) or look like a
cell reference (such as Q3 or TAX2010 ).
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 anywhere 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 defeats the purpose of using meaningful names.
Names are not case sensitive. The name AnnualTotal is the same as annualtotal. Excel
stores the name exactly as you type it when you define it, but it doesn’t matter how you
capitalize the name when you use it in a formula.
Excel also uses a few names internally for its own use. Although you can create names that
override Excel’s internal 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.
The Name box serves double-duty by also providing a quick way to activate a named cell or
range. To select a named cell or range, click the Name box and choose the name, as shown in
Figure 3-3. This selects the named cell or range. Oddly, the Name box does not have a keyboard
shortcut. In other words, you can’t access the Name box by using the keyboard; you must use the
mouse. After you click the Name box, however, you can use the direction keys and Enter to
choose a name.
 
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