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Bookmarks in Excel

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could create bookmarks in Excel, in the same way that you can bookmark pages in your browser? The ideal would be to record the exact screen position, so that you could automatically return to the same view at some point in the future.

Well, you can! But they are not called bookmarks. Instead, you can use Custom Views.

Custom Views

To define a Custom View, set things up so that they look the way you want them to look. The following settings are recorded when you define a Custom View:

  • The currently active worksheet
  • The size of the window, zoom percentage, position on screen
  • Headings that have been set using Freeze Panes
  • Hidden sheets

You can choose whether to record the following settings:

  • Print settings
  • Hidden rows, columns and filters

When things look the way you want them to, open the Custom Views dialog from the menu, using View\Custom Views...

Picture of Custom Views dialog

Then click on the Add button, to show the Add View dialog.

Picture of Add View dialog

Select the options you require, type in a name, click on OK, and your new Custom View has been defined.

To view it again, bring up the Custom Views dialog and select its name in the list. You can either double click on the name, or select it and click on Show.

Defined Names

You can also use Names, by defining a Name for a range. You can then go to that range by selecting it in the Name Box.

Picture of Name Box

When you choose a Name from the Name Box, Excel adjusts the view so that the range to which the Name refers is visible on the screen. If the range is too large, as much as possible of the range, starting at the top left hand corner, is shown. In general it appears that Excel changes the view as little as possible, so that often single cell ranges are shown towards the bottom right of the screen.

It is only possible to choose Names that are defined in the current workbook. Names that are local to a worksheet are shown only when you are already viewing that worksheet.

It is somewhat more convenient to define a Name by typing in the Name Box, and then viewing the range by selecting it in the Name Box, but you don’t get the fine control over what you see that you do when you use Custom Views.