Renaming Worksheets Based On a List

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated April 22, 2023)
This tip applies to Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Excel in Microsoft 365, and 2021


Gilbert has a worksheet (named "Control") that contains a list of desired worksheet names in cells A1:A12. He needs a way, in a macro, to rename each of the other 12 worksheets in the workbook based upon that range of cells. The worksheet names don't need to be dynamic; they just need to be renamed when he runs the macro.

The core of developing a macro to address this need is to rely on the Name property of each worksheet you want to rename. For instance, you could use a very simple macro like this:

Sub RenameSheets()
    Dim c As Range
    Dim J As Integer

    J = 0
    For Each c In Range("A1:A12")
        J = J + 1
        If Sheets(J).Name = "Control" Then J = J + 1
        Sheets(J).Name = c.Text
    Next c
End Sub

The macro simply steps through the cell range A1:A12 and, if the next worksheet isn't named "Control," it renames the worksheet to the cell value.

As noted, this macro is very simplistic and should, in all likelihood, be a lot more robust. For instance, what should be done if there are more (or fewer) than 13 worksheets in the current workbook? What should be done if there are empty cells in the range A1:A12? What should be done if someone runs the macro and "Control" isn't the active worksheet? What should be done if there are two identical values in A1:A12? What if there are leading or trailing spaces on one or more names in the range A1:A12? These and (most likely) a whole range of other questions can affect how the macro finally looks. Here's a commented version of the macro that takes into account several of the possibilities just mentioned:

Sub RenameSheets()
    Dim c As Range
    Dim J As Integer
    Dim K As Integer
    Dim sName As String
    Dim w(12) As String
    Dim bGo As Boolean
    Dim sTemp As String

    bGo = True
    If Worksheets.Count <> 13 Then
        ' Check to make sure exactly 13 worksheets in workbook
        bGo = False
        sTemp = "There are more than 13 worksheets."
    End If
    If ActiveSheet.Name <> "Control" Then
        ' Check to make sure Control is active
        bGo = False
        sTemp = "Control worksheet is not active."
    Else
        ' Check for empty and duplicate cells in range
        J = 0
        For Each c In Range("A1:A12")
            sName = Trim(c.Text)
            If sName <> "" Then
                For K = 1 to J
                    If LCase(w(K)) = LCase(sName) Then
                        bGo = False
                        sTemp = "Duplicate sheet names in list."
                    End If
                Next K
                If bGo Then
                    ' Everything still good; add name
                    J = J + 1
                    w(J) = sName
                End If
            End If
        Next c
    End If

    If bGo Then
        K = 0
        For J = 1 To 12
            K = K + 1
            If Sheets(K).Name = "Control" Then K = K + 1
            Sheets(K).Name = w(J)
        Next J
    Else
        MsgBox(sTemp)
    End If
End Sub

Notice how much longer the second version of the macro is than the first? Anytime you start adding multiple checks in a macro, it can really make it much longer than without the checks. The benefit in adding the checks, of course, is that your macro is less likely to run into problems as it is used by people other than you.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (1506) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Excel in Microsoft 365, and 2021.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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