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


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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. ...

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What is three less than 9?

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/


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