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.
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:
Figure 1. The New Name dialog box.
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:
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.
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