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Naming a Cell or Range in Excel 2007

Assign a descriptive name to a cell or range in Excel 2007 to help make formulas in your worksheets much easier to understand and maintain. Range names make it easier for you to remember the purpose of a formula, rather than using somewhat obscure cell references.

For example, the formula =SUM(Qtr2Sales) is much more intuitive than =SUM(C5:C12). In this example, you would assign the name Qtr2Sales to the range C5:C12 in the worksheet.

Naming cells

To name a cell or range, follow these steps:

  1. Select the cell or cell range that you want to name.

    You also can select noncontiguous cells (press Ctrl as you click each cell).

  2. On the Formulas tab, click Define Name in the Defined Names group.

    The New Name dialog box appears.

    Use the New Name dialog box to assign a name to the selected range.
    Use the New Name dialog box to assign a name to the selected range.
  3. In the Name text box, type up to a 255-character name for the range.

    Range names are not case-sensitive; however, range names must follow these conventions:

    • The first character must be a letter, an underscore, or a backslash.

    • No spaces are allowed in a range name.

    • Do not use a name that is the same as a cell address. For example, you can’t name a range U2 or UB40, but BLINK182 and ABBA are just fine.

  4. Click OK.

Alternatively, you can enter a range name into the Name box located at the left end of the Formula bar and press Enter to create the name. You can jump quickly to a named range by clicking the down arrow in the Name box and selecting the range name.

Using a named range

Follow these steps to select a named cell or range:

  1. Click the down arrow in the Name box.

    The Name box appears at the left end of the Formula bar.

  2. Select the range name you want to access.

    Excel highlights the named cells.

    You can use a range name to quickly locate an area of a worksheet.
    You can use a range name to quickly locate an area of a worksheet.

You also can use range names with the Go To dialog box, to make it easier to locate specific areas of a worksheet. Press F5 to quickly display the Go To dialog box, select the range name you want to jump to, and click OK.

You can plug cell names into formulas just like they were normal cell references. Be careful using named multi-cell ranges, though. You'll have to perform some function that requires a range instead of a single cell reference — such as MAX, SUM, or AVERAGE — or else you'll get an error message. For instance, =(MAX(TestScores)-MIN(TestScores))/2.

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