When you need to reference a specific cell in Microsoft Excel it is common for you to use row numbers and column letters. These are shown at the left side and top of the spreadsheet, respectively, and provide an easy way to locate cells for formulas.
But you may be looking for a way to create custom column names in Excel if you don’t want to use the default column headings.
This can be useful when you are working with a lot of similar data and are running into problems with properly identifying columns. It can also be a useful way to may writing formulas easier because you can just enter your custom name into the formula rather than going back to see which column contains which data.
Fortunately, it is possible for you to give a column a name in Excel if you would like to be able to reference the column by that name rather than the standard column letters.
How to Title Columns in Excel
- Open your spreadsheet.
- Click the column letter to rename.
- Click in the Name field next to the formula bar.
- Delete the current name.
- Enter the new name, then press Enter.
Our article continues below with additional information on naming columns in Excel for office 365, including pictures of these steps.
How to Rename a Column in Excel (Guide with Pictures)
the steps in this article were performed in the desktop version of the Microsoft Excel for Office 365 application. However, these steps will also work in most other versions of Excel.
Step 1: Open the Excel file containing the column you wish to rename.
Step 2: Click the column letter above the spreadsheet.
Step 3: Click inside the Name field that is above the row numbers and to the left of the formula bar.
Step 4: Delete the current column name.
Step 5: Type the new name, then press Enter on your keyboard.
How to Change a Column Header in the Name Box Dropdown List in Microsoft Excel
The steps above walk you through the process of how you create names for single columns in an Excel spreadsheet. Once you have elected to give a new, custom name rather than the default Excel names for some of your columns, then those custom names are going to appear in a dropdown list within the Name field.
You can quickly select a column and choose to rename one of these column headers by simply clicking inside that Name field and choosing the column name. That will select that column. You can then click inside the Name field again, delete the current name, enter a new name, then press Enter.
Our guide continues below with more information, such as what to do if you are seeing an error when trying to name columns in Excel.
More Information on How to Name Columns in Excel
If the row numbers and columns aren’t visible in Microsoft Excel then they have probably been hidden. You can display them by selecting the View tab at the top of the window, then checking the box next to Headings in the Show group of the ribbon.
If you are having trouble giving your column a name, then it may be because you are attempting to include a space. In my example above I am giving my column the name “LastName” but I would get an error if I tried to give it a name of “Last Name.”
Once a column is renamed you can do stuff like =SUM(LastName) to quickly add all of the values in that column.
One helpful thing that you can do when you have renamed columns in Excel is to quickly select an entire column by its name. if you click the arrow in the Name field you will see a dropdown list with all of your custom column names. If you select one of those names it will automatically highlight that entire column.
These column names are a little different than creating titles in the first row of each column. Traditionally that is used as a simple way to identify what type of data is in a column. It also makes it very easy to use the “Print Titles” button on the Page Layout tab so that you can repeat the top row of your spreadsheet on every page.
it is possible for you to use the first row as a title row in Microsoft Excel while still creating custom column names using the steps outlined in the tutorial above.
One additional similar action you can take is to create an Excel named range that consists of a few cells. You can use your mouse to select the cells to include in that range, then click inside the Name field, delete the current name, enter the new one, then press Enter on the keyboard. When you start creating more and more named ranges in your spreadsheet you can really make selections quickly by clicking the Name Manager to cycle through all of your defined names group values.