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Defining Names

In Excel, you can give a range a name. You can do this in two ways, using the Name Box or by using the Define Name dialog. You can change the range that a name refers to, or delete a name, using the Define Name dialog.

Using the Name Box is quicker and easier for straightforward name definitions, but the Define Name dialog provides a more flexible interface.

Using the Name Box to define names

Picture of Name Box

Select the range that you wish to give a name to, and type the name into the Name Box, which is the box just above the top left of the spreadsheet area. In the example, we are defining the name Total to refer to the single cell
A2. Multi-celled ranges canbe given names in exactly the same way.

The Name Box shows all the names that are currently defined, through the drop-down just to its right. Select any name in the drop down to select that range in the workbook.

If you happen to select a range that has a name defined for it, the name will appear in the Name Box.

Using the Define Name dialog to define names

Open the Define Name dialog from the menu, using Insert\Name\Define... Type the name that you wish to define in the top box (Excel will often suggest one for you) and then use the Refers to box to enter the range. You can type the range in, or select it in the usual way. If you type it in, make sure it is an absolute range (with dollar signs) unless you know what you are doing (see related note on using names for formulae). Finally, use the Add button to add the new name to the list.

To delete a name, select it in the list and use the Delete button.

To change the definition of an existing name, select it in the list and change its definition in the Refers To box, then use the Add button.