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

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 24, 2017)

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. ...

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