Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, and 2013. 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: Referencing a Worksheet Name.

Referencing a Worksheet Name

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated November 15, 2016)


Jon wonders if there is a function equivalent to =ROW() or =COLUMN() for worksheets. He needs to reference (for example) the fourth sheet in a workbook, but he can't be sure of the worksheet's name.

There are a couple of ways to approach this problem, depending on what you need to do. If you are working with a worksheet that has already been saved, then the following formula will provide you with the worksheet name for Sheet4:


You should note that there are couple of assumptions in this formula. First (and most importantly) it assumes that you know the initial name of the worksheet. In this case, the initial name is Sheet4. After the formula is in place, subsequent changes to the worksheet name will be reflected automatically in the formula. The second assumption is that the workbook you are working in has been saved. If it hasn't, then the formula returns an error until the workbook is saved and recalculated.

A different approach is to use a user-defined function. In VBA's object model, all the worksheets in a workbook are contained within the Sheets collection. These are, in turn, indexed. Thus, you can pass an index value to the function and get back the name of the worksheet at the collection's index number.

Function TabName(lSNum As Long) As String
    If lSNum > 0 And lSNum <= Sheets.Count Then
        TabName = Sheets(lSNum).Name
    End If
End Function

For instance, if you wanted to know the name of the fourth worksheet in the collection, you could use the following in your worksheet:


The function will work just fine, even in a workbook that has not been saved. It also returns the proper worksheet name even if the worksheets are renamed or moved around.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (11553) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Referencing a Worksheet Name.

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 for this tip:

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What is 9 - 7?

2016-11-30 11:21:32

Gary Lundblad


When I copy your user defined function code into a module in my personal workbook, so it can be used with any open workbook, and then try to call that function in another workbook, I simply get a =NAME? error. If I copy the code into the workbook that I'm trying to use it in, it works fine. Is there a way the function can work in any open workbook?

Thank you!


2016-11-15 19:49:58


A simpler formula to do this is:


when placed on the worksheet to get the name of.

2016-11-15 10:15:36

Neil M Gibson

I have used this method of identifying sheet names for years by populating cell A-1 of each sheet with it's own name function. I can then reference the sheet's A-1 cell to get the name - no problem if someone changes the sheet name. Use this in conjunction with Indirect/Address, Hyperlink etc. Also use it to define dynamic range names - which I use in VBA rather than hard coded references.

2016-11-15 08:29:03

Jim Stevens

Is there a way to use either this function or the user-defined function within a VLOOKUP to identify the tab within the table_array parameter?

2016-01-29 12:01:24


I am referencing a worksheet name as a cell location in a formula. I can get it to work when the worksheet doesn't have a hyphen, but if it has a hyphen, it doesn't work. Example I have a sheet named summary, I have retrieved all the other worksheet names in cell C1-c150 on Summary worksheet. I want to retrieve the information in cell b4 in all the worksheets and list them in column D1-150. I am having trouble in where the apostrophes go. INDIRECT(C11&"!$b$4") works if I take the apostrophes out.

2014-12-15 23:30:29

sunil kumar gupta

Please guide me how to creat index sheet with the help of buttons in Balace sheet

2014-12-05 10:42:48


Hi There,

In line with Barry's recommendation on using CodeName, I am trying to use it to reference from a hyperlink, rather than relying on the sheet names or index. Is there a way to do that?

Thank you

2013-09-19 23:34:58



Thank you for taking the time to answer my question. Your lengthy, all-in-one formula does exactly what I was hoping to accomplish. I enjoy reading your contributions here, especially now that I'm a direct beneficiary.

2013-09-18 10:16:09


John, you can fix your hyperlinks by using the Hyperlink formula. For ease of reading the formulas**, I'm going to assume you have a cell with the file name called FileName* and a cell with the sheet to reference called SheetRef (this uses Allen's formula, so that when you change the name of the sheet, the cell value will change to reflect).

Then for your hyperlink, use the following formula:

=HYPERLINK("[" & FileName & "]" & SheetRef & "!A1",SheetRef)

When you change the name of the referenced sheet, both the hyperlink and the link text will update accordingly. I'm sure there are ways to make the formulas involved more elegant, but my brain hurts right now and I know these will work regardless :)

* There's another tip about it here somewhere, but you can find this with the following formula if you need it to be dynamic:


If you want to put everything into one cell, the formula simply becomes much longer:

=HYPERLINK("[" & MID(CELL("filename",A1),FIND("[",CELL("filename",A1))+1,FIND("]",CELL("filename",A1))-FIND("[",CELL("filename",A1))-1) & "]" & MID(CELL("filename",Test3!A1),FIND("]",CELL("filename",Test3!A1))+1,LEN(CELL("filename",Test3!A1))) & "!A1",MID(CELL("filename",Test3!A1),FIND("]",CELL("filename",Test3!A1))+1,LEN(CELL("filename",Test3!A1))))

(Where "Test3" was the name of the sheet in question)

2013-09-18 09:32:08


Using the CELL function avoids dealing with index numbers and allows for changing the names and order of the sheets.

The first example provided in this tip happens to use a default sheet name with an index number, but that's incidental. Enter the formula as given, then change the name of Sheet4 to Travel Expenses, for example. The formula you entered will be updated to read

=MID(CELL("filename",'Travel Expenses'!A1),FIND("]",CELL("filename",'Travel Expenses'!A1))+1,LEN(CELL("filename",'Travel Expenses'!A1)))

Starting out with the standardized default names simplifies replicating the formula to generate a list of all the sheet names, a list that will automatically update as you rename sheets.

2013-09-18 05:19:28

Barry Fitzpatrick

Care needs to be exercised when using the index number as this reflects the order of the sheets as can be seen along the bottom of the Excel window. Moving the position of a sheet changes its index number.

A better method is to use the worksheets 'code name'.

2013-09-17 09:08:27


I use a table of contents sheet with hyperlinks to the other sheets in my workbook. The CELL function provides one way to generate a list of default sheet names that stays current as I rename and delete sheets to my heart's content. The formula appears to rewrite itself to reflect name changes.

But hyperlinks to other sheets are always stymied when I rename a tab. Is there some way to get them to learn from the CELL function? (Some way that doesn't involve a macro since Excel 2008 for Mac doesn't support VBA.)

As an aside, the MID function doesn't need to calculate the length of the filename when capturing everything to the right. The LEN function can be replaced with a large constant such as 999.

2013-09-16 09:00:21


I can't figure out what this would be used for.

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