Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Excel in Microsoft 365, and 2021. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: Pulling Cell Names into VBA.

Pulling Cell Names into VBA

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated April 6, 2024)
This tip applies to Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Excel in Microsoft 365, and 2021


If you have used Excel for any length of time, you undoubtedly know that you can define names in your worksheets that refer to various cells and ranges of cells. You can even define names that refer to constants and to formulas. (The naming abilities of Excel are really quite handy.)

As you are developing macros, you may wonder if there is a way to retrieve a list of defined names within a worksheet. This is actually quite easy, if you remember that the defined names are maintained in the Names collection, which belongs to the Workbook object. With this in mind, you can use the following code to put together a variable array that consists of all the names in a workbook:

    Dim NamesList()
    Dim NumNames As Integer
    Dim x As Integer

    NumNames = ActiveWorkbook.Names.Count

    ReDim NamesList(1 To NumNames)

    For x = 1 To NumNames
        NamesList(x) = ActiveWorkbook.Names(x).Name
    Next x


If you would like to know how to use the macros described on this page (or on any other page on the ExcelTips sites), I've prepared a special page that includes helpful information. Click here to open that special page in a new browser tab.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (5676) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Excel in Microsoft 365, and 2021. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Pulling Cell Names into VBA.

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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What is two more than 7?

2024-04-10 12:24:50


THis is interesting, as are so many of your article, but what do you do with this list. I tried it out but it doesn't display anywhere. How do you use this?

2024-04-06 11:37:04

J. Woolley

@Craig Buback
Re. my previous comment below, if RefersTo and Value are both #REF! the defined name can probably be deleted. This does NOT determine if the name is used somewhere.
My Excel Toolbox's NamesInFormulas macro lists hyperlinks to formula cells referencing each visible defined name (named range) in the active workbook. (Hidden names are ignored.) The cell's formula will be included in a comment attached to its hyperlink. The following details are also provided for each name: Scope, Name, Refers To, Value, and Comment. Results are recorded in the active workbook's 'NamesIn...' worksheet. The NamesInFormulas macro does NOT detect names used in charts, conditional formats, data validation, external workbooks, VBA procedures, etc.

2024-04-06 11:13:15

J. Woolley

For more information about the named ranges in your workbook, My Excel Toolbox includes the following array function to list defined names with workbook, worksheet, or any scope, including names that are normally hidden:
    ListNames([Scope], [SkipHidden], [SkipHeader])
Default value for Scope is null ("") to return all names (any scope).
Default value for both SkipHidden and SkipHeader is False.
This function can be used in VBA to return a base-0 Variant array of information about named ranges in the active workbook:

    Dim A() As Variant
    A = ListNames(, , True)

Each element of A will be a base-0 array with six elements representing the following Name properties as String values: Scope, Name, Visible, Refers To, Value, Comment.

2024-04-06 10:42:27

Craig Buback

What really would be helpful would be a macro that analyses all of your macros and ss,s and determines which names are never used anywhere. Is that even possible?

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