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: Generating Unique, Sequential Names.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated September 24, 2016)
Steven is testing some software and he needs to feed into the program a bunch of "fake" names. He would like these names to be patterned such as Nameaaa, Nameaab, Nameaac, and so on through Namezzz. This would require creating 17,576 names (26 x 26 x 26). He wonders if there is an easy way to generate all these names in Excel.
This sort of repetitive task just cries out for a macro. (They are great for doing boring, dull, repetitive tasks that you don't want to do manually.) Listing 1 shows a simple macro that can do the required grunt work.Listing 1. CreateNames macro.
Sub CreateNames() Dim i As Integer Dim x As Integer Dim y As Integer Dim z As Integer i = 1 For x = 97 To 122 For y = 97 To 122 For z = 97 To 122 Cells(i, 1) = "Name" & Chr(x) _ & Chr(y) & Chr(z) i = i + 1 Next Next Next End Sub
The macro uses three variables (x, y, and z) to serve as "counters" that control which letter of the alphabet is appended to the "name" stuffed into a cell. Notice that the For ... Next loops range from 97 to 122, which are the ASCII codes for lowercase a through z.
If you don't want to use a macro for some reason, type the following formula into cell A1 of a blank worksheet:
="Name" & CHAR((ROW()-1)/676+97)&CHAR(MOD( (ROW()-1)/26,26)+97)&CHAR(MOD(ROW()-1,26)+97)
This is a single formula, and it results in "Nameaaa" being displayed. Copy the formula down through row 17,576 and you'll have your fake names.
ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (12129) 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: Generating Unique, Sequential Names.
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