Name Manager in Excel (Basic and Applications)

In this article, we will cover everything you need to know about Name Manager in Excel. First, we will discuss what a name manager is and when we need to apply it. Then we will show how to create a named range and will explain 5 different scenarios of Excel’s name manager. We will also provide some naming rules and shortcuts that will help you while applying the name manager feature in Excel.

Excel’s Name Manager creates, edits and deletes named ranges. It improves visibility, understanding, editing, refactoring, error detection, and workbook navigation. This feature can improve workflow, productivity, and spreadsheet structure in Excel.

I hope you find this article both informative and helpful as you apply Name Manager in Excel.  So, let’s get into the main discussion.

1- overview image of name manager in Excel

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What Is Name Manager in Excel?

Name Manager in Excel is used to create, modify, and delete named ranges. Named ranges are descriptive identifiers assigned to specific worksheet cells or ranges of cells. By naming ranges, we can refer to them in computations without having to use cell references.

For instance, when working with formulas in Excel, we occasionally use names rather than cell references. Name Manager allows us to add a new reference, amend an existing reference, or delete a reference.

How to Launch Name Manager in Excel

You can find the Name manager on the “Formulas” tab in the “Defined Names” area. You can also access it by “Ctrl + F3”.

Different Columns of Name Manager

Name manager can be used to create a new name in Excel, although it is mostly used to access existing names. Here are some columns that display information in the name manager:

  • Name: The Name column may contain a defined name or the name of a table. A defined name can refer to a single cell, a range of cells, a formula, or a constant value, while a table name refers to a table used to organize information into rows and columns.
  • Value: In the Value column, you can see what the current value is. Names may have different meanings depending on what they represent.
  • Refers To: The reference or formula associated with the name.
  • Scope: It indicates if a name is applicable to a worksheet or the entire workbook in the Scope column.
  • Comment: In the Comment column, you can provide additional information about a given name. It permits up to 255 characters for the name description.

When Do We Use Excel Name Manager?

Excel’s Name Manager is useful for creating, organizing, and managing named ranges and formulas within a workbook. It is useful when you need to organize and manage named ranges and formulas in a workbook.  It helps improve the readability, maintainability, and efficiency of your spreadsheets, particularly in complex situations or when working with macros and data validation.

How to Create a Named Range Using Name Manager in Excel

In this part of the article, we will use the Excel name manager in the Formulas ribbon to create a named range.

  • Select the data range that you want to give a specific name. In our case it is E5:E11.
  • Now, go to the Formulas tab>> choose Name Manager from the Defined Names drop-down.

2- selecting name manager from defined names drop-down

  • A dialog box named Name Manager will open up.
  • Click on the New tab.

3- clicking new tab in the name manager dialog box

  • Now, give a name in the Name box as you want. We have given ‘Sales’.
  • As we selected the range of cells (B5:B11) earlier, they’ll be visible in the Refers to box.
  • Press OK and your named range is now ready to use.

4- giving a name to the cell range to create a named range using name manager in Excel

  • Now, the Name Manager window will reappear where we’ll find the newly given name of our cell ranges.
  • Click Close.

5- closing name manager dialog box

  • Now, if we select the data range in the Excel worksheet, we’ll see the name (Sales) assigned for it in the Name Box.

6- created a named range using name manager in Excel

Excel’s Name Manager: 5 Different Scenarios

In the previous part, we have already created a named range called “Sales”. Using Name Manager, we can also edit, delete, and filter Excel names. The following examples and explanations show each type.

1. Editing Named Range in Excel

We can see another option “Edit” in the name manager dialog box. Suppose we want to edit the cell reference.

  • Select the named range of the working worksheet and click Edit.

7- selecting edit option from name manager dialog box to edit named range

  • It will take you to the Edit Name dialog box where you can edit as per your requirements.
  • After editing, click OK.

8- editing named range in Excel

Thus we can edit or modify named ranges in Excel using the name manager dialog box.

Read More: How to Edit Defined Names in Excel 

2. Create a Name for a Constant in Excel

A name can be created for both a cell range and a constant without referencing a cell. Suppose we need a conversion factor to simplify our calculations. We can then assign that value a name so we won’t have to refer to it every time.

Let’s say we want to add a new column named “Increased Bonus” where we will show the increased bonus of each employee. We will multiply 1.33 by their current bonus. So we will create a name so that we don’t have to refer to it for each calculation.

  • First, to create the named range go to the Formulas tab>> choose Name Manager from the Defined Names drop-down.

9- selecting name manager from defined names drop-down to create a name for a constant

  • A dialog box named Name Manager will open up.
  • Click on the New tab.

10- clicking new tab in the name manager dialog box  to create a name for a constant

  • In the “Name” box write “Increased_Bonus” and in the “Refers to” box, specify the value as 1.33.

11- specifying value and name in the new name dialog box

  • After this, we can see the name “Increased_Bonus” created in the Name Manager dialog box.
  • Click Close.

12- created named range for an instant in Excel

  • Now we can calculate the Increased Bonus using the newly created named range “Increased_Bonus”.
  • It will show in the suggestion list to select.

13- calculating increased bonus using created named range

  • And now, AutoFill the rest to calculate the ‘Increased Bonus’ for each employee.

14- final image of created a name for a constant in Excel

Thus Excel allows us to create a name for a constant.

3. Defining Name for an Excel Formula

We can also give a name to an Excel formula as well. Suppose we wish to determine the total number of employees there. To do that let’s first create a named formula:

  • Go to the New Name dialog box just like the above-mentioned methods.
  • In the “Name” box write “Employee_Number” and in the “Refers to” box, specify the formula.

15- specifying formula and name in the new name dialog box

  • Now in the worksheet use this formula to calculate Total Employee using Employee_Number named range.
  • The final output will be like this:

16- final output image of creating name for an Excel formula

In this way, we can create a name for an Excel formula using Name Manager.

Read More: How to Copy a Sheet If Name Already Exists in Excel


4. Filter Names in Name Manager

There is another option named “Filter” in the Name Manager dialog box. By using this, we can filter out the relevant ranges.

  • Click on Filter in the Name Manager dialog box.
  • You will see the different options there.

17- clicking on filter option to filter names in name manager

We can see the filters that work on the areas with the right names. Then, we can choose the one we want to limit to and do what we need to do. Thus we can apply filters on names in Excel’s Name Manager.

5. Deleting Named Range in Excel

Deleting named ranges is one of the common tasks. To delete a named range follow the below tasks:

  • Select the named range that you want to delete and click Delete.

18- deleting named range in excel

Note: If you want to delete multiple named ranges at once, select the named ranges by pressing the “Ctrl” button and click on the Delete option. Excel will delete the named ranges at once.
  • Consequently, you will see that the named range has been removed from Name Manager.

19- final output result of deleting named range in Excel

Read More: How to Delete Defined Names in Excel 

Naming Rules for Name Manager in Excel

  • Excel names should not exceed 255 characters.
  • Excel names cannot contain spaces or most punctuation characters. A name must begin with either a letter, an underscore, or a backslash.
  • Names in Excel are case-insensitive.
  • Ranges cannot be named as cell references. Therefore, we cannot name a range like “A1” or “AA1”.
  • We can define a range using a single letter except “c,” “C,” “r,” or “R” since they are used as shortcuts.

Some Shortcuts of Excel Name Manager

Here, we have listed some useful shortcuts to work with name manager in Excel:

  • Press “Ctrl + F3” to open the Excel Name Manager.
  • Press “Ctrl + Shift + F3” to create named ranges from a selection.
  • To get a list of all Excel names in a workbook press “F3”.

Benefits of Using Name Manager in Excel

Using the Name Manager feature in Excel offers several benefits, especially when working with large and complex spreadsheets. Here are some benefits of using the Name Manager in Excel:

  • Centralized Management: The Name Manager organizes all workbook names. View, modify, and organize all specified names in one location. This unified administration makes updating named ranges, cells, and formulae easier.
  • Visibility and Understanding: The Name Manager makes spreadsheet names more visible and understandable. It displays the name, scope, reference, and comments for each declared name. This detailed description makes it easy to understand and troubleshoot each name.
  • Advanced Editing and Refactoring: The Name Manager lets you alter specified names. You may quickly edit the name, reference, formula, scope, or remove names. This functionality helps you easily update and handle dependent references while reworking or rearranging your worksheet.
  • Efficient Workbook Navigation: The Name Manager makes workbook navigation easier. It lets you jump to named ranges, cells, and formulae from the Name Manager panel. In large spreadsheets with many named items, it’s time-saving.

Errors While Using Name Manager in Excel (#REF and #NAME)

  • By default, Microsoft Excel tries to keep our set names consistent and accurate by automatically changing range references when we add or remove cells from a named range.
  • Suppose, we have created a new named range “Joining_Info” where all employees joining information is stored.

20- created new named range Joining_Info

  • Now, if we insert a new row between rows C5:C11, or delete a row from that range, the reference will update accordingly.
  • As soon as all cells (C5:C11) are deleted from Joining_Info named range, the name becomes invalid and shows #REF!
  • We sometimes misspell or remove a named range. If a formula uses that range which doesn’t exist, the #NAME? error will occur.

Tips for Using Name Manager in Excel

  • When creating named ranges, use descriptive and meaningful names that clearly indicate the purpose or content of the range. This will make it easier for you and others to understand and work with the named ranges in your workbook.
  • If you have multiple named ranges in your workbook, consider organizing them into groups or categories. For example, you can prefix or group related named ranges with a common identifier or use a naming convention to categorize them. This can help in locating and managing named ranges more efficiently.
  • Create dynamic formulas using Name Manager. Whenever your data changes, you won’t have to manually update the formulas.
  • Avoid naming your ranges with reserved words or cell references, as this can lead to conflicts or confusion. Excel has a set of reserved words with specific functions; using them as range names may result in unexpected behavior.

Key Takeaways from the Article

  • In this article, we have provided a concise and comprehensive overview of Name Manager in Excel.
  • In the beginning, we discussed what a name manager is and when we need to apply it.
  • Then showed how to create a named range with easy steps.
  • Explained 5 different scenarios of Excel’s name manager.
  • After that, discussed some naming rules for the name manager in Excel.
  • Provide some shortcuts and benefits of name manager.
  • Also discussed some errors that occur while using name manager in Excel.
  • Shared some tips for using the name manager in Excel.
  • Provide solutions to frequently asked questions by readers.


In this article, we have tried our best to provide a concise and comprehensive overview of Name Manager in Excel. Don’t forget to download the practice file. Thank you for reading this article. We hope this was helpful. Please let us know in the comment section if you have any queries or suggestions. Please visit our website, ExcelDemy, a one-stop Excel solution provider, to explore more.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is name manager scope?

Excel’s Name Manager scope refers to the visibility or accessibility of a named range or workbook-level name within a workbook. The scope determines where the name can be used and accessed. By using this, you have control over the visibility and accessibility of named ranges and workbook-level names, enabling you to organize and manage your Excel workbooks effectively.

2. Is there a limit to name manager in Excel?

There doesn’t seem to be a limit to how many names you can make, but each name can only have up to 255 characters. Excel doesn’t know the difference between uppercase and lowercase letters in names, even though names can have both. If you encounter any limitations in your Excel version, you may need to consider adjusting your workbook structure or optimizing your use of named ranges to stay within the given constraints.

3. How do you name data columns?

Choose the column you want to change, then go to Transform>> Rename. You can also double-click the title of a column. Put the new name here.

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Nujat Tasnim
Nujat Tasnim

Nujat Tasnim, BSc in Computer Science and Engineering from American International University-Bangladesh, has a year-long tenure with ExcelDemy. Initially a Content Developer at SOFTEKO, she transitioned to the Software Team as Junior Software Quality Assurance Engineer. Currently serving as a Junior SQA Engineer at SOFTEKO, she excels in SDLC, STLC, and requirement analysis and possesses profound insights into OOP-related software development processes. Nujat is also proficient in design software like Photoshop and Illustrator, contributing diverse skills to her... Read Full Bio

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