Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. 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: Applying Range Names to Formulas.

Applying Range Names to Formulas

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated July 3, 2018)

6

Named ranges can be a great boon when you are writing formulas. For instance, if you assign the name Tax_Rate to cell A7, you can then use the name Tax_Rate in your formulas instead of A7. This makes your formulas (and their purpose) easier to understand when you are later working with them.

This approach is great if you have not yet created any formulas. What if you already have a bunch of formulas in your worksheet, and they already reference cell A7 instead of Tax_Rate? You could, of course, select each formula and edit them to refer to Tax_Rate instead of A7, but that could be a long process that is prone to mistakes. (My fat fingers often introduce mistakes that I never intended. :>))

The solution is to allow Excel to do the editing for you. It is easy to do; just follow these steps:

  1. Define the named range you want used in your worksheet.
  2. Select the cells that contain formulas.
  3. Display the Formulas tab of the ribbon.
  4. Click the down-arrow at the right of the Define Name tool (in the Defined Names group) and then choose Apply Names. Excel displays the Apply Names dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  5. Figure 1. The Apply Names dialog box.

  6. Click OK.

That's it; Excel examines your formulas and any reference to cell A7 is replaced with the name of A7, Tax_Rate.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (8266) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Applying Range Names to Formulas.

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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Comments

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What is five less than 7?

2018-06-01 20:03:46

David Gray

For years, I've taken a slightly different tack. Find and Replace can do the same thing with a lot less fuss. By default, Find and Replace searches formulas. Leave this checked, then change the scope from worksheet to workbook, input the cell name in the find box and the range name in the replace box, and hit Go.


2015-10-31 14:21:53

mansour

in the this command has a VBA code.
my question is that :
in VBA Code , what is the "appendlast"?
please send your answer with comprehensive illustration.
thank you very much


2015-03-24 23:35:20

Matt

Having the same issue Gary mentioned, is there a solution to this problem. As he stated, much more likely to have range named cells on different sheets and the Apply Names function does not work in this situation.


2014-12-25 12:07:14

Nava

Gary, I recommend using the Find Replace function in lieu of the error you mention. Just tried it and that changed my cell references to Named Ranges. Looks like a bug in the latest 2013 version.


2014-01-16 20:26:49

Gary

This works if the formula is on the same worksheet as the defined names. What though if they are spread around on different sheets in the workbook? This is a much more likely scenario, but then Excel gives an error that Excel cannot find any references to replace.

Example: On Sheet 2, cell A1, type in the number 1. On Sheet 3, cell A1, type in the number 2. On sheet 1, enter the formula "=Sheet2!A1+Sheet3!A1"
The result is the expected value of 3.
Now define names for the cell A1 on sheet 2 and on sheet 3 cells (eg name them as ONE and as TWO). Now, apply these names and Excel fails to find any references to replace.

Is there any known solution to this problem??


2013-10-26 13:37:54

Juan

How great tip, really cool!


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