Using Very Long Worksheet Tab Names

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 15, 2019)

2

John has a need to use some very long worksheet tab names. Excel, however, seems to limit those names to only 30 characters, so he wonders if there is a way to exceed that limit.

The short answer is no, you cannot change the limit on worksheet name length. It is hard coded into Excel at 31 characters. There are a few workarounds, though, some obvious and some perhaps not so obvious: use abbreviations for words in the names, devise a code-number system that ties to a longer name listed in a worksheet, etc.

You could also utilize tab color into your "naming." For instance, if a department name is used commonly as part of a worksheet tab name, you could use colors to designate different departments and then drop the actual department name from the longer worksheet name.

Finally, you may find it beneficial to split your worksheets into different workbooks. You could make the longer, common portion of each worksheet name the workbook name. For instance, suppose you had the following worksheet names you wanted to use:

Sacramento Development Facility Budget January 2019
Sacramento Development Facility Budget February 2019
Sacramento Development Facility Budget March 2019
Sacramento Development Facility Budget April 2019
Sacramento Production Facility Budget January 2019
Sacramento Production Facility Budget February 2019
Sacramento Production Facility Budget March 2019
Sacramento Production Facility Budget April 2019

These names are obviously longer than the 31-character limit. If you didn't want to use abbreviations, you could create two workbooks—Sacramento Development Facility and Sacramento Production Facility—and then use the following worksheets in each workbook:

Budget January 2019
Budget February 2019
Budget March 2019
Budget April 2019

You could even take the technique a step further by appending the word "Budget" to each workbook name and dropping it from the individual worksheet names.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (13175) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 365.

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

Tracked Changes Notification when Opening

If you have Word configured to show markup on-screen and you look through a document, it is easy to tell where changes ...

Discover More

Noting When a Workbook was Changed

Do you need to know when a workbook was last changed? There are a couple of ways you can go about keeping track of the ...

Discover More

Getting a Count of Unique Names

When you've got a column full of names, you may want to get a count of how many of those names are unique. You can make ...

Discover More

Create Custom Apps with VBA! Discover how to extend the capabilities of Office 2013 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access) with VBA programming, using it for writing macros, automating Office applications, and creating custom applications. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2013 today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Returning a Worksheet Name

Need to know the name of the current worksheet? You can use the CELL function as the basis for finding this information ...

Discover More

Quickly Inserting a New Worksheet

Want a quick way to insert a worksheet? There's nothing faster than using the handy shortcut.

Discover More

Determining a Worksheet's Number

When you add a new worksheet to a workbook, it receives a meaningful name such as "Sheet4" or "Sheet17." If you want to ...

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 1 + 3?

2019-06-19 06:43:37

Subodh Joshi

+1 for David Robinson's suggestion above. I do it all the time - even when worksheet names are short enough. Makes life easier for users. Generally, I make content of cell A1 in each data sheet point back to the 'Content' worksheet.


2019-06-17 05:25:42

David Robinson

If your priority is to make it easy for your user to find their way around your document, consider using a shortcuts or "Contents" page: this would basically be one sheet full of hyperlinks to the other sheets (using the Insert hyperlink - Place in this document option). The display text for these hyperlinks can be as long as you need them to be. You could also help out your user by inserting a "Back to contents page" hyperlink within each of your other sheets. This means the user would not need to understand any abbreviated sheet names you might need.

By the way, happy birthday Allen.


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.