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: Invalid Names when Opening Workbook.

Invalid Names when Opening Workbook

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated October 15, 2016)

Vivek received a workbook from a colleague and when he tries to open it he gets an error: "One or more invalid names were detected in this workbook. Those invalid names have been changed to #REF." This means he can't see some of the calculations. The same workbook is okay when sent to another colleague, so Vivek wonders why the workbook won't work for him but it does for his colleague.

This problem is probably due to one of two things. First, it is possible that your colleague's system has some add-ins loaded that allow the workbook to function properly, but you don't have them. The solution is to display the add-ins that are being loaded on your colleague's system. Write them on a piece of paper, start Excel on your system, and then make sure you have the same add-ins loaded.

The other possibility is that the workbook includes formulas that are linking to external data from other workbooks. It is entirely possible that your colleague's system has access to those other workbooks (either locally on his system or over a network) and you don't have access to them. The only way to determine this, again, is from your colleague's system. Have him load the workbook and look for external links it may contain. Figure out where that external data is located, and then make sure you have access to that same data on your system.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (12349) 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: Invalid Names when Opening Workbook.

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

Enlarging Screen Font Size

Sometimes things appearing on the screen are a bit too small to read easily. One possible solution is to adjust the size ...

Discover More

Understanding Object Anchors

Do you have documents that contain objects? Understanding how Word handles objects and the way they are anchored can make ...

Discover More

Watching Cell Values

Want to know what is happening in certain cells in your worksheet? Using the Watch Window is a great way to keep an eye ...

Discover More

Excel Smarts for Beginners! Featuring the friendly and trusted For Dummies style, this popular guide shows beginners how to get up and running with Excel while also helping more experienced users get comfortable with the newest features. Check out Excel 2013 For Dummies today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Full Path to Workbook

Need to get the full path of your current workbook into the Clipboard? Excel doesn't make it quite as easy as it used to ...

Discover More

Saving in Multiple Locations

Need to save a workbook in more than one location? Here's a handy macro that can save your workbook in lots of different ...

Discover More

Use Filenames that Sort Properly

When storing your Excel workbook, you need to specify a file name to be used for the workbook. Take a moment to consider ...

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}] 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 eight more than 0?

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.