Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365. 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: Getting the Name of the Parent Workbook.

Getting the Name of the Parent Workbook

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated January 2, 2021)
This tip applies to Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365


2

Many people use the CELL worksheet function to return the name of the current Excel workbook. A common way to use the function is as follows:

=CELL("filename")

Using the CELL function in this manner is fine, provided you only have one workbook open at a time. If you open more than one, then this usage can cause problems. Why? Because when used this way, CELL returns the name of the currently active workbook, not the workbook in which the formula is used.

To always return the name of the workbook in which CELL is used (sometimes called the "parent workbook"), you must alter the formula just a bit:

=CELL("filename", A1)

By adding a cell reference as the second parameter in the function, you are telling Excel that you want the name of the file containing that cell reference. In other words, CELL will return the name of the file in which cell A1 of the current worksheet is located. (You can also provide any other cell reference in place of A1, if more appropriate.)

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (10771) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Getting the Name of the Parent Workbook.

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Turning Off Word's Second Guessing with Quote Marks

When you type quote marks in a document, Word normally changes them to Smart Quotes. They look better on a printout, but ...

Discover More

Saving a Workbook with a Preview

When you save your workbooks, Excel can also save a preview image (thumbnail) that can be displayed in the Open dialog ...

Discover More

Determining Differences Between Dates

Do you need to do some simple math using dates in a your macro? One of the easy functions you can use is the DateDiff ...

Discover More

Excel Smarts for Beginners! Featuring the friendly and trusted For Dummies style, this popular guide shows beginners how to get up and running with Excel while also helping more experienced users get comfortable with the newest features. Check out Excel 2013 For Dummies today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Outstanding Macro Function Reference

Looking for a great reference that you can use to help figure out the various worksheet functions available in Excel? ...

Discover More

Determining the Least Common Multiple

Need to figure out the least common multiple of a range of values? It is a snap when you use the LCM function, described ...

Discover More

Selecting Random Names

Got a ton of names from which you need to select a few random names? There are several ways you can extract what you ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is five more than 4?

2021-01-06 08:52:12

Ed

It is observed that blanks are returned if the work book is new and has not been saved.


2021-01-02 10:53:26

J. Woolley

The problem with CELL("filename",A1) is that it returns something like
C:\Users\MyName\Documents\[MyBook.xlsx]MySheet
when all you wanted was MyBook.xlsx. You might consider the freely available NameOf function in My Excel Toolbox, which is perhaps more useful than Excel's CELL and INFO functions. See https://sites.google.com/view/MyExcelToolbox/


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the ribbon interface (Excel 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.