Refer to Named Ranges

Office 2013 and later

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Ranges are easier to identify by name than by A1 notation. To name a selected range, click the name box at the left end of the formula bar, type a name, and then press ENTER.

Note: There are two types of named ranges: Workbook Named Range and WorkSHEET Specific Named Range.

Workbook Named Range

A Workbook Named Range references a specific range from anywhere in the workbook (it applies globally) and is usually created by entering the name into the name box to the left end of the formula bar. No spaces are allowed in the name.

WorkSHEET Specific Named Range

A WorkSHEET Specific named range refers to a range in a specific worksheet and is not global to all worksheets within a workbook. You can refer to this named range by just the name in the same worksheet, but from another worksheet you must use the worksheet name & "!" & then the name of the range; for example, if you name the range "Name" "=Sheet1!Name"). The benefit of this is that you can use VBA code to generate new sheets with the same names for the same ranges within those sheets without getting an error saying that the name is already taken.

Create a WorkSHEET Specific named range

  1. Select the range you want to name.

  2. Click on the "Formulas" tab on the Excel Ribbon at the top of the window.

  3. Click "Define Name" button in the Formula tab.

  4. In the "New Name" dialogue box, under the field "Scope", choose the specific worksheet that the range you want to define is located (such as, "Sheet1"). This makes the name specific to this worksheet. If you choose "Workbook" then it will be a WorkBOOK name).

An example of a WorkSHEET Specific Named Range is "Selected range to name are A1:A10". The chosen name of a range is "name" within the same worksheet. Refer to the named "name" by entering the following in a cell "=name" from a different worksheet. Refer to the worksheet specific range by including the worksheet name in a cell "=Sheet1!name".

The following example refers to the range named "MyRange" in the workbook named "MyBook.xls."

Sub FormatRange() 
    Range("MyBook.xls!MyRange").Font.Italic = True 
End Sub

The following example refers to the worksheet-specific range named "Sheet1!Sales" in the workbook named "Report.xls."

Sub FormatSales() 
    Range("[Report.xls]Sheet1!Sales").BorderAround Weight:=xlthin 
End Sub

To select a named range, use the GoTo method, which activates the workbook and the worksheet and then selects the range.

Sub ClearRange() 
    Application.Goto Reference:="MyBook.xls!MyRange" 
End Sub

The following example shows how the same procedure would be written for the active workbook.

Sub ClearRange() 
    Application.Goto Reference:="MyRange" 
End Sub

Sample code provided by: Dennis Wallentin, VSTO & .NET & Excel

This example uses a named range as the formula for data validation. This example requires the validation data to be on Sheet 2 in the range A2:A100. This validation data is used to validate data entered on Sheet 1 in the range D2:D10.

Sub Add_Data_Validation_From_Other_Worksheet()
'The current Excel workbook and worksheet, a range to define the data to be validated, and the target range
'to place the data in.
Dim wbBook As Workbook
Dim wsTarget As Worksheet
Dim wsSource As Worksheet
Dim rnTarget As Range
Dim rnSource As Range

'Initialize the Excel objects and delete any artifacts from the last time the macro was run.
Set wbBook = ThisWorkbook
With wbBook
    Set wsSource = .Worksheets("Sheet2")
    Set wsTarget = .Worksheets("Sheet1")
    On Error Resume Next
    On Error GoTo 0
End With

'On the source worksheet, create a range in column A of up to 98 cells long, and name it "Source".
With wsSource
    .Range(.Range("A2"), .Range("A100").End(xlUp)).Name = "Source"
End With

'On the target worksheet, create a range 8 cells long in column D.
Set rnTarget = wsTarget.Range("D2:D10")

'Clear out any artifacts from previous macro runs, then set up the target range with the validation data.
With rnTarget
    With .Validation
        .Add Type:=xlValidateList, _
             AlertStyle:=xlValidAlertStop, _
'Set up the Error dialog with the appropriate title and message
        .ErrorTitle = "Value Error"
        .ErrorMessage = "You can only choose from the list."
    End With
End With

End Sub

The following example loops through each cell in a named range by using a For Each...Next loop. If the value of any cell in the range exceeds the value of Limit, the cell color is changed to yellow.

Sub ApplyColor() 
    Const Limit As Integer = 25 
    For Each c In Range("MyRange") 
        If c.Value > Limit Then 
            c.Interior.ColorIndex = 27 
        End If 
    Next c 
End Sub

Dennis Wallentin is the author of VSTO & .NET & Excel, a blog that focuses on .NET Framework solutions for Excel and Excel Services. Dennis has been developing Excel solutions for over 20 years and is also the co-author of "Professional Excel Development: The Definitive Guide to Developing Applications Using Microsoft Excel, VBA and .NET (2nd Edition)."