Naming Cells & Cell Ranges in Excel

Naming cells and ranges is a way to complete task in Excel. This post will explain how to use this tool.

The main benefit of naming cells and ranges in Excel may be that it simplifies completing operations inside Excel. In the example below you are going to see two numbers

If we ever want to use the values 10 and 5 we have to continue typing 10 and 5. By naming these cells we can you the text terms length and width instead. In the screenshot below you can see in the upper left corner how I rename the value 10 with the term “length.” To the left of the formula bar and directly below the clipboard is a box called the “name box.” Right now it says “C2” but we will change that.

In the picture below we have changed the label “C2” to the word “length.”

We also renamed cell “C3” to “width”. In the screens below we will now call the names of the cells rather than their numerical values and still complete calculations.

You can see how the cells are highlighted when their names are called. Below is the output when pressing enter.

Look closely at the formula bar. The values 10 and 5 are not there. Rather the formula bar shows = length * width. In other words, naming a cell or cells is similar to declaring a variable in a programming language.

You don’t have to name each cell individually. By highlighting the column with the names and the columns with the numerical values you can do this all with a few clicks in Excel. In the picture below I have “base” and “height” in one column and in the column right next to it I have the values of 5 and 4. If I highlight the 2 rows and 2 columns I can then name a cell range from the current selection. This can be done two ways

  1. Click formulas->Create from selection
  2. Shift + ctrl + F3

When you do this you will see the following

Excel has already determine where the names for each named cell is. Once you click okay you will have two new named cells, “base” set to a value of 5 and “height set to a value of 4.

Editing the Names

If you ever want to edit or delete the names you have given a cell all you have to do is click on formula->Name manager or you can also press ctrl + F3 and you will see the following

In this box you can create new cell names, delete cell names, or edit.

Creating Named Ranges

A named range is more than one cell that has a shared name. To do this you highlight the multiple rows and columns you want and follow the same steps as naming an individual cell. Below is a picture of this. Notice how in the name box the rage is given the name “data.”

Naming a range will allow you to type its name somewhere else and instantly reproduce all of the data.


Naming cells and ranges is a convenient way to access information in your worksheets inside Excel. When it is necessary to deal with complex operations this can be another tool that can be employed to do things quickly.

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