How to define a name for a range of cells in Microsoft Excel

Updated: 08/02/2019 by Computer Hope
Microsoft Excel formula with a range of cells

In Microsoft Excel, a formula can include a range of cells for adding values together, finding an average, and other calculations. For example, if you wanted to include cells D2 through D13 in a formula, you would denote that using the text "D2:D13" in the parentheses for the formula.

Microsoft Excel formula with a defined name

An alternative option is to define a name for the range of cells, and then use that name in the formula instead. Using a defined name in a formula can be easier to type and easier to remember, especially if the same range of cells is used in multiple formulas. It can also help prevent a formula from changing when copied from one cell to another.

Define a name for a range of cells

To define a name for a range of cells in Microsoft Excel, follow the steps below.

  1. In the Excel spreadsheet, select the desired range of cells.
  2. Right-click on the selected cells and select Define Name in the pop-up menu.
  3. In the New Name window, enter a name for the selected cells in the Name field and click OK.
Define a name for a selected range of cells in Microsoft Excel
Note

A defined name for a range of cells is not the same as a column header. For example, in the picture above, there is a "Sales" column header, which is not a defined name for the selected range of cells. If you have a column header, you still must define a name for a range of cells if you want to use that defined name in a formula.