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Naming cells and ranges

From: Excel 2003 Essential Training

Video: Naming cells and ranges

something to make that make sense. For example, every cell in your spreadsheet has a name already. The cell that's currently active is named A6, and this cell is named C4, and the cell is named D10. I know that because it has the D heading on my column and the 10 heading on my row. That's the active cell. It's just a cross-reference, very, very simple. But when I go to create formulas, formulas use these names, the default names, to refer to your mathematical statement. The mathematical statement is something that makes a lot less sense to a human being and a lot more sense to the computer, even though the computer is translating everything too. Let me show you what I mean. I'm jumping ahead a little bit here, but it really is necessary for us to pull up some formulas before we can talk about naming cells and ranges. Before I do formula let me just select B9, and in the name box, I'm going to click, and instead of calling this one B9, I'm going to call it EmptyCell. I can't have any spaces in that name. I'm going to hit Enter and there we go. B8 is still called B8, but B9 is called EmptyCell and I can now refer to it inside of a formula or another mathematical statement as EmptyCell. This doesn't make it any less typing, as matter of fact there's a lot more typing now, but when you're reading the formula later, I can add EmptyCell to the cell next door, if I were going to name another cell the cell next door, and that statement is a lot closer to English than some other mathematical statements that you'll see. Let me show you an example. I'm going to highlight the entire Fourth Quarter including an empty space at the end, so now my range of cells is E2 through E6, and I'm going to choose the AutoSum function. Now I'm jumping ahead a little bit here, but the AutoSum function is a very quick and easy way and it won't interrupt our flow too much. If you don't see the AutoSum function on your Formatting toolbar or your Standard toolbar, go to the end where you have your toolbar options, this little icon. Open that up and look for AutoSum in these unused icons. Once you select it from this list it will appear here because Excel assumes you're going to be using it and we are. So click AutoSum, and then we'll click just on E6 and look at the formula up here in the Formula bar. It says equals sum from E2 through E5. That's what the colon means, through. So it's sum or adding E2, E3, E4, E5 together to give you a total. That's exactly what you'd expect from this type of spreadsheet. You want to see a summary for the sales in the Fourth Quarter. Now let me go next door, and I'm going to name this range: Quarter Three or the third quarter, let me see here. I'll highlight this. So now I'm not highlighting an extra cell, cause I'm going to manually enter that later. So I've got D2 through D5 and in the Name box, I'm going to name this range, not just a single cell but the entire range, and I'll name it ThirdQuarter, and I'll hit Enter and now this range of cells, all four of them together, are named ThirdQuarter. So I can go down here and let's take a look at this formula again just so we see it in our minds = capital SUM(E2 through E5). I can recreate that exact same formula by hitting equal, capital SUM and in brackets I'm going to put ThirdQuarter and close brackets. Notice as soon as I entered a recognized named value for this range, it highlighted the range to indicate to me, what exactly I was working with. When I hit Enter, there it goes. Now let's look at some advantages and disadvantages. The AutoSum function was very nifty and sweet. It automatically assumed that the result for my formula, here found in E6, was going to be formatted as a currency value because that's what I was working with. When I entered this manually, it didn't know any such thing, so we would have to manually go into Format Cells and go to our Currency format and say OK, and now it matches up with the rest of the cells. But barring that, look at the formula itself. Which one is easier to read? The formula in E6 although not terribly complex is summing a range of cells and at a casual glance, you have absolutely no idea what that is, that sum total. If you look at D6, you know that the sum total is an addition of the values for the third quarter. So this formula is much easier to read from an English standpoint, this is a much higher level. When it's a lot of numbers, they're called lower-level formulas or lower-level statements, and when it's a lot of English-language text, it's a higher-level statement. So naming cells and ranges can bring the formulas to a higher level so that they'll make sense.

Naming cells and ranges

something to make that make sense. For example, every cell in your spreadsheet has a name already. The cell that's currently active is named A6, and this cell is named C4, and the cell is named D10. I know that because it has the D heading on my column and the 10 heading on my row. That's the active cell. It's just a cross-reference, very, very simple. But when I go to create formulas, formulas use these names, the default names, to refer to your mathematical statement. The mathematical statement is something that makes a lot less sense to a human being and a lot more sense to the computer, even though the computer is translating everything too. Let me show you what I mean. I'm jumping ahead a little bit here, but it really is necessary for us to pull up some formulas before we can talk about naming cells and ranges. Before I do formula let me just select B9, and in the name box, I'm going to click, and instead of calling this one B9, I'm going to call it EmptyCell. I can't have any spaces in that name. I'm going to hit Enter and there we go. B8 is still called B8, but B9 is called EmptyCell and I can now refer to it inside of a formula or another mathematical statement as EmptyCell. This doesn't make it any less typing, as matter of fact there's a lot more typing now, but when you're reading the formula later, I can add EmptyCell to the cell next door, if I were going to name another cell the cell next door, and that statement is a lot closer to English than some other mathematical statements that you'll see. Let me show you an example. I'm going to highlight the entire Fourth Quarter including an empty space at the end, so now my range of cells is E2 through E6, and I'm going to choose the AutoSum function. Now I'm jumping ahead a little bit here, but the AutoSum function is a very quick and easy way and it won't interrupt our flow too much. If you don't see the AutoSum function on your Formatting toolbar or your Standard toolbar, go to the end where you have your toolbar options, this little icon. Open that up and look for AutoSum in these unused icons. Once you select it from this list it will appear here because Excel assumes you're going to be using it and we are. So click AutoSum, and then we'll click just on E6 and look at the formula up here in the Formula bar. It says equals sum from E2 through E5. That's what the colon means, through. So it's sum or adding E2, E3, E4, E5 together to give you a total. That's exactly what you'd expect from this type of spreadsheet. You want to see a summary for the sales in the Fourth Quarter. Now let me go next door, and I'm going to name this range: Quarter Three or the third quarter, let me see here. I'll highlight this. So now I'm not highlighting an extra cell, cause I'm going to manually enter that later. So I've got D2 through D5 and in the Name box, I'm going to name this range, not just a single cell but the entire range, and I'll name it ThirdQuarter, and I'll hit Enter and now this range of cells, all four of them together, are named ThirdQuarter. So I can go down here and let's take a look at this formula again just so we see it in our minds = capital SUM(E2 through E5). I can recreate that exact same formula by hitting equal, capital SUM and in brackets I'm going to put ThirdQuarter and close brackets. Notice as soon as I entered a recognized named value for this range, it highlighted the range to indicate to me, what exactly I was working with. When I hit Enter, there it goes. Now let's look at some advantages and disadvantages. The AutoSum function was very nifty and sweet. It automatically assumed that the result for my formula, here found in E6, was going to be formatted as a currency value because that's what I was working with. When I entered this manually, it didn't know any such thing, so we would have to manually go into Format Cells and go to our Currency format and say OK, and now it matches up with the rest of the cells. But barring that, look at the formula itself. Which one is easier to read? The formula in E6 although not terribly complex is summing a range of cells and at a casual glance, you have absolutely no idea what that is, that sum total. If you look at D6, you know that the sum total is an addition of the values for the third quarter. So this formula is much easier to read from an English standpoint, this is a much higher level. When it's a lot of numbers, they're called lower-level formulas or lower-level statements, and when it's a lot of English-language text, it's a higher-level statement. So naming cells and ranges can bring the formulas to a higher level so that they'll make sense.

Maybe somebody new is going to take over the spreadsheet and continue to update your data. It'll be just that much easier if they understood what they were manipulating without having to trace a whole bunch of formulas back through your sheets.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Excel 2003 Essential Training
Excel 2003 Essential Training

65 video lessons · 51682 viewers

Mark Swift
Author

 
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  1. 16s
    1. Welcome
      16s
  2. 22m 44s
    1. Spreadsheet uses
      1m 59s
    2. Toolbars and menus
      8m 53s
    3. Moving around
      8m 1s
    4. Getting help
      3m 51s
  3. 18m 43s
    1. Opening new workbooks
      5m 13s
    2. Entering data
      6m 12s
    3. Commenting and saving
      7m 18s
  4. 17m 31s
    1. Opening worksheets
      1m 55s
    2. Add and delete worksheets
      2m 23s
    3. Insert and delete cells
      3m 46s
    4. Worksheet data
      9m 27s
  5. 36m 0s
    1. Width and height
      6m 7s
    2. Numeric formats
      6m 1s
    3. Alignment of data
      3m 43s
    4. Naming cells and ranges
      5m 48s
    5. Naming constants
      1m 52s
    6. Creating lists
      5m 48s
    7. Autofilter
      4m 13s
    8. Designated lists
      2m 28s
  6. 11m 19s
    1. Print options
      5m 51s
    2. Printing and hiding data
      1m 58s
    3. Headers and footers
      3m 30s
  7. 21m 52s
    1. Creating formulas
      6m 30s
    2. Relative and absolute
      6m 1s
    3. External references
      6m 0s
    4. Named constants
      3m 21s
  8. 7m 47s
    1. Functions
      7m 47s
  9. 19m 6s
    1. Fonts and merging
      3m 52s
    2. Rotate and indent
      1m 47s
    3. Borders
      2m 41s
    4. Shading and format painter
      2m 30s
    5. Rename and color worksheet tabs
      1m 52s
    6. Working with pictures
      6m 24s
  10. 11m 31s
    1. Templates
      3m 45s
    2. Styles
      3m 55s
    3. Autoformat
      55s
    4. Smart documents
      2m 56s
  11. 13m 15s
    1. Chart terminology
      2m 23s
    2. Chart wizard
      5m 10s
    3. Formatting charts
      3m 22s
    4. Inserting images
      1m 42s
    5. Printing charts
      38s
  12. 5m 1s
    1. File search
      1m 51s
    2. Find and replace
      3m 10s
  13. 8m 19s
    1. Import from Word
      1m 17s
    2. Delimited data
      2m 53s
    3. Import from the web
      1m 49s
    4. Exporting data
      2m 20s
  14. 7m 54s
    1. Consolidation
      5m 12s
    2. 3D formulas
      2m 42s
  15. 5m 33s
    1. Multiple panes
      1m 12s
    2. More screen options
      4m 21s
  16. 13m 37s
    1. If
      2m 22s
    2. Time
      4m 16s
    3. Date and time
      2m 14s
    4. Lookup
      4m 45s
  17. 6m 55s
    1. Compare text
      3m 27s
    2. Concatenation
      1m 47s
    3. Special characters
      1m 41s
  18. 6m 10s
    1. Pivot tables
      6m 10s
  19. 16m 0s
    1. Recording a macro
      8m 43s
    2. Macro menus
      3m 45s
    3. Global macros
      3m 32s
  20. 11s
    1. Goodbye
      11s

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