Name Box in Excel – All You Need To Know

Very simply put, the Name Box is a name-displaying tool. Selection of any cell, column, row, named range, chart, picture, etc., (any item on the worksheet window) shows its name in the Name Box.

Displaying the name by selection of any cell or item is the prime job of the Name Box but note that it's just the prime job. The Name Box can be used as a selection and navigation tool in a workbook. How? Let this tutorial show you.

Name Box In Excel

Location of the Name Box

The Name Box is nestled below the ribbon menu, above the worksheet window, and to the left of the formula bar. To jump to the Name Box, press Alt + F3.

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The size of the Name Box (and consequently the size of the formula bar too) can be adjusted by clicking on vertical ellipses (3 dots) on the right of the Name Box and moving it left and right.

Uses of Name Box

Now that we know where it sits and what it is, let's find out what good that Name Box is for.

1. Displaying Names

Most of you would already be knowing that the Name Box is most commonly used for displaying cell addresses or names. Let's see what else does it do:

a) Displays the Address of the Active Cell

The simplest and most straightforward use of a Name Box is to show the address of the active cell.

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For instance, here we have selected cell B2 and the name box displays its address.

b) Displays the Selected Number of Rows and Columns While Making a Selection

While selecting a range of cells (while the mouse or shift key is held), the Name Box will display the number of rows and columns that are being selected.

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Once the mouse or shift key is released and the selection is made, the Name box displays the first selected cell.

c) Displays the Name of the Selected Named Range

The range B3:G18 has been named Sales. Selecting it will show the name of the range (i.e. Sales) in the Name Box.

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d) Displays the Name of a Named Cell

Cell I3 has been named GST. Selecting this cell will show GST instead of I3 in the Name Box.

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e) Displays the Name of the Selected Named Objects

The Name box will display the name of any selected picture, chart, checkbox, or any named object. The inserted chart has automatically been named Chart 1. Selecting the chart shows the name in the Name Box.

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2. Naming Cells, Ranges, or Objects Using Name Box

Let's see how Name Box can assist you in naming cells or cell ranges.

a) The Name Box can be Used to Name a Cell

By default, the name of a cell is its address (e.g. A1). The name of a cell can be changed from the Name Box. Click on the Name Box, enter a new name for the cell, press Enter.

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Similarly, select any row or column, enter a name in the Name Box, and hit Enter.

b) The Name Box can be Used to Name a Range (Creating a Named Range)

Just the way you would rename a cell but for a named range, you select the range. Click on the Name Box, enter a name for the range, press Enter.

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c) The Name Box can be Used to Rename an Object in the Sheet

Objects already have names e.g. Table1, Chart1, Picture1 etc. When the object is selected, the name of the object appears in the Name Box. Click on the Name Box, rename the object, and press Enter.

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Recommended Reading: All About Named Ranges In Excel

3. Navigation Using Name Box

Cell or Range navigation is another prominent feature of the Name Box. Let's see different ways in which Name Box helps in navigation.

a) Navigate to Any Cell

Select the Name Box, type the cell reference you want to go to, hit Enter. Let's use the Name Box to navigate to cell C9.

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b) Navigate to Multiple Cells

Multiple cells can be selected by clicking on one cell and typing the other cells in the Name Box separated by commas. Then press Ctrl + Enter.

Select D7, type G10,I3 in the Name Box, press Ctrl + Enter. This will select cells D7, G10, and I3.

c) Navigate to a Column or Row

To select a certain column, the reference must be entered as C:C (C being the column reference). Then, press Enter.

Let's enter D:D to select column D.

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Multiple columns can be selected by entering the column references separated by commas (e.g. F:F,G:G).

Adjacent columns can be selected by entering the column letters separated by a colon (e.g. B:D).

Note: You cannot simply enter the column reference as G. This will rename the selected cell to G, it won't navigate to column G.

Pro Tip: With a cell in selection, enter C in the Name Box to select column of the selected cell. Press Enter. If we select cell D9 and enter C in the Name Box and press Enter, the entire column D will be selected.

To select a certain row, the reference must be entered as 5:5 (5 being the number of the row). Then, press Enter.

Let's enter 10:10 to select row 10.

Selecting-An-Entire-Row-12

Multiple rows can be selected by entering the row references separated by commas (e.g. 2:2,18:18).

Adjacent rows can be selected by entering the row numbers separated by a colon (e.g. 2:4).

Note: You cannot simply enter the row reference as 2. You will receive an invalid reference prompt.

Pro Tip: With a cell in selection, enter R in the Name Box to select the row of the selected cell. Then press Enter. If we select cell D9 and enter R in the Name Box and press Enter, the entire row 9 will be selected.

d) Navigate to a Range

Select the Name Box, type the range you want to go to e.g. B8:G10, hit Enter. The range B8:G10 will be selected. Multiple ranges can also be selected by entering multiple ranges separated by commas (e.g. B8:G10, F15:G17)

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To go to any range e.g. B8:G10, you can also select B8, type G10 in the Name Box, press Shift + Enter. This will also select B8:G10.

e) Navigate to Any Named Range

Type the name of the range in the Name Box and press Enter. This will select the named range.

If we type Sales in the Name Box and hit Enter, the named range Sales will be selected.

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f) Navigate to an Intersecting Range (Common/Overlapping Cells Between two Ranges)

If two ranges are entered in the Name Box with a space character in between, any intersecting cells will be selected. If we type B5: E13 D10:F16 in the Name Box and press Enter, the common cells between the two ranges will be selected.

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g) Navigate Between Worksheets

Enter the sheet name and reference in the Name Box to navigate to the reference in another sheet. The reference can be a cell, range, column, or row.

To navigate to I3 on sheet 2, enter Sheet2!I3 in the Name Box and hit Enter. The selection will shift from sheet 1 to cell I3 on sheet 2.

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h) Navigate Between Open Workbooks

Just like navigating between worksheets, the workbook name needs to be added before the sheet name to navigate to another open workbook. Let's say to navigate to Book2, we can type [Book2]Sheet1!A1 in the Name Box and press Enter.

4. Name Box Drop-down Menu

Name Box can sometimes show a dropdown for various options. Let's have a look at them now:

a) Dropdown For Names of Cells, Ranges, Columns, and Rows

The Name Box can also present you with a drop-down menu of all named cells, ranges, columns, and rows in the workbook if you click on the little arrow at the right of the Name Box.

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In our Named Box drop-down menu, you can see all the named cells, rows, columns, and ranges. The chart on our worksheet is named Chart 1 but that doesn't show on our menu as named charts and pictures etc. don't show up in the Name Box menu.

b) Dropdown for Formulas Last Used in the Formula Wizard

In a cell, press the equal sign "=". You will notice a function name in the Name Box. If you open the Named Box menu, you can see a list of the last functions used in the function wizard. If you have never used the function wizard, you will see the most popular SUM function at the top.

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With hope that we've given you the A to Z on the Name Box, that's all from us! Wasn't that a good find? Who knew the Name Box was more than a cell display window? While you're working on how to pounce about the worksheets and workbooks using this humble tool, we'll have another sliver of Excel ready for you to explore. Be around to box it!

About Ankit Kaul

Well, I am Ankit Kaul, the founder of Excel Trick. I am a die-hard fan of Microsoft Excel and have been working with spreadsheets for the past 10+ years. My only aim is to turn you guys into 'Excel Geeks'. Check out more about me here.

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