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: Using the Same Range Name on Different Worksheets.

Using the Same Range Name on Different Worksheets

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated July 25, 2022)
This tip applies to Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016


One of the handy features of Excel is that you can define names that refer to ranges of cells. (This is a big plus when you want to write formulas that make sense.) When you create a named range, Excel assumes that you want the name to be available from every worksheet within a workbook.

You can, however, specify that a name be valid only for the current worksheet. In this way you can define the same name on different worksheets in your workbook. Thus, you could have a range named MyRange on Sheet1, a range named MyRange on Sheet2, and also on Sheet3. To create names that are only applicable to a specific worksheet, follow these steps:

  1. Select the range of cells that you want to name.
  2. Display the Formulas tab of the ribbon.
  3. Click the Define Name tool in the Defined Names group. Excel displays the New Name dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The New Name dialog box.

  5. In the Name box, enter a name you want used for this named range.
  6. Using the Scope drop-down list, choose the worksheet on which the range is selected (step 1).
  7. Click on Add.

That's it. Now, if you go to a different worksheet, the name you defined will not be available from that worksheet—only from the worksheet in which it was defined.

There is a potential little quirk here that can lead to some interesting results. Note that in the "Refers To" box, the range shown is fully qualified—it shows the sheet on which you selected cells in step 1. If you select a different sheet in step 5, then your defined name is only available in whatever sheet you specified (in step 5), but it still refers to cells on a sheet other than that one. It will work just fine in your formulas, but it is just one potential "gotcha" you should watch for.

Finally, I should mention that there is a bit of shortcut you could use in the above-listed steps. You could also define the scope for your range name in this manner:

  1. Select the range of cells that you want to name.
  2. Display the Formulas tab of the ribbon.
  3. Click the Define Name tool in the Defined Names group. Excel displays the New Name dialog box.
  4. In the Name box, enter the name of the current worksheet, an exclamation mark, and the name you want to define, as in Sheet1!MyRange.
  5. Click on Add.

This approach—adding the sheet name to the beginning of the range name—results in the scope being set automatically to whatever sheet you specify.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (12237) 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: Using the Same Range Name on Different Worksheets.

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

Making Spell Check Ignore Characters

The rules of professional editing often require that editorial changes in a quote be noted with brackets. These brackets, ...

Discover More

Line Numbering and Tables

Some types of documents (such as legal documents) may require that individual lines of text be numbered. If you use ...

Discover More

Counting a Particular Word

Need to know how many times a particular word appears in a document? Here's a handy trick that will tell you the count, ...

Discover More

Save Time and Supercharge Excel! Automate virtually any routine task and save yourself hours, days, maybe even weeks. Then, learn how to make Excel do things you thought were simply impossible! Mastering advanced Excel macros has never been easier. Check out Excel 2010 VBA and Macros today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Displaying a Hidden First Row

If you hide the first rows of a worksheet, you may have a hard time getting those rows visible again. Here's a simple way ...

Discover More

Deleting Duplicate Columns

Have a worksheet in which there may be entire columns that are duplicates of each other? If you want to delete those ...

Discover More

Alt+Enter Stopped Working Correctly

What do you do if a keypress you know worked correctly before all of a sudden stops working as you expect? This tip ...

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 9 - 3?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


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.