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: Copying Named Ranges.

Copying Named Ranges

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated March 5, 2022)
This tip applies to Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Excel in Microsoft 365, and 2021


Graeme has a workbook that has a large number (120+) named ranges defined within it. He would like to copy the range names and definitions to a different workbook. Thus, after copying, the range named MyRange1 which refers to the range C7:H22 in the original workbook will exist in the target workbook and refer to the same range, in the target workbook. Nothing else should be copied from the original workbook to the target—just the range names and definitions.

The easiest way to do this is with a macro that steps through each of your defined names and copies the name definition to the target workbook. Here's an example:

Sub CopyNames()
    Dim Source As Workbook
    Dim Target As Workbook
    Dim n As Name

    Set Source = ActiveWorkbook
    Set Target = Workbooks("Book2.xlsx")

    For Each n In Source.Names
        If n.Visible Then
            Target.Names.Add Name:=n.Name, RefersTo:=n.Value
        End If
    Next
End Sub

This macro assumes quite a bit, all the name of simplicity. First, it assumes that you have a target workbook open, and the name of that workbook is Book2.xlsx. If you don't, then the macro will crash and burn when you run it. You can, if desired, change the name of the target workbook to match your needs, or you can modify the macro so that it adds and uses a new workbook.

Second, named ranges include, by default, the name of the worksheet in the Value property. If the source workbook has a named range that refers to, say, Sheet4, and there is no Sheet4 in the target workbook, then the addition of the name fails. The macro doesn't generate an error; it simply doesn't create the new named range. The solution is to either (a) make sure that the target workbook contains the same sheet names as the source workbook or (b) modify the macro so that it recognizes that there are missing sheets and takes whatever action is appropriate.

Note that the majority of the work in the macro is done in the For Each loop that steps through all the defined names. If the named range is visible (meaning, it isn't a hidden system-used range name), then the maco creates the name in the target workbook and gives it the same assignment as it had in the source workbook (contained in the Value property).

If you prefer to not create a macro, then the easiest method may be to copy your worksheets from the source workbook to a target workbook. Excel generally copies the named ranges along with the worksheets. The only time this would not be a satisfactory approach is if the target workbook already has worksheets with the same names as those worksheets you might want to copy. In that case, you'd be best to use the macro approach.

Note:

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 (8811) 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: Copying Named Ranges.

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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