While many people will use a header row in their spreadsheets to identify the information that is contained within a column, that might not be useful for what you need to do.
Another option that you have involves learning how to name a column in Excel.
This gives you some additional flexibility with cell references and formulas, which may be more optimal for the way that you use Excel.
Our tutorial below will show you how to name columns in Excel so that you can start taking advantage of the additional features this enables.
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.
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 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.
These steps will show you how to label columns in Excel.
Step 1: Open the Excel file containing the column you wish to rename.
Open your spreadsheet.
Step 2: Click the column letter above the spreadsheet.
Choose the letter of the column to name.
Step 3: Click inside the Name field that is above the row numbers and to the left of the formula bar.
Select the Name field.
It is at the upper left corner of the Excel worksheet, above the row numbers and to the left of the column letters.
Step 4: Delete the current column name.
Remove the existing column name.
Step 5: Type the new name, then press Enter on your keyboard.
Input the new column name and press Enter.
Now that you know how to name a column in Excel you can take advantage of this when you are working on spreadsheets that need column names.
The next section discusses editing a column header in Excel.
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.
Frequently Asked Questions About How to Name a Column in Excel
Are headers and column names the same thing in Excel?
No, these are two different things.
A header in Excel is the first row of the spreadsheet, where you can enter a word or phrase that describes the information that will appear in cells in that column.
A name is something that you apply with the special “Name” field to the left of the column letters.
An Excel header and name can have the same values, but they serve different purposes.
Often row headers will be sufficient for an Excel sheet.
Where is the Excel formula bar?
you can find the formula bar in your Excel spreadsheet above the column letters.
It is possible to hide the formula bar, however, you can also go to the View tab, then make sure that the Formula Bar option in the Show group is checked.
How do I delete a column in Microsoft Excel?
If you have a column in your Excel document that you don’t need anymore, then you are able to remove it.
You can do this by right-clicking on the column letter, then choosing the Delete option.
You can also use this option to delete multiple columns.
Simply hold down the Ctrl key on your keyboard, then click each column letter that you want to remove.
Once all of the columns are selected you can right-click on one of them and choose the Delete option.
Matthew Burleigh has been a freelance writer since the early 2000s. You can find his writing all over the Web, where his content has collectively been read millions of times.
Matthew received his Master’s degree in Computer Science, then spent over a decade as an IT consultant for small businesses before focusing on writing and website creation.
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