Check Out These Easy Ways to Select using Microsoft Excel’s Name Box

by Avantix Learning Team | Updated April 30, 2017

Applies to: Microsoft® Excel® 2010, 2013 and 2016 (Windows)

The Name Box is located to the left of the Formula Bar in Microsoft Excel. It normally displays the name of the active cell. You can enter directly in the Name Box to quickly select cells or even objects.

The Name Box in Microsoft Excel to the left of the Formula Bar.

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You can use the Name Box to:

  • Select one or more cells
  • Select rows or columns
  • Name a cell or range of cells
  • Navigate to a named cell or range

The Name Box can be resized by dragging its right edge to the left or right.

The following are 10 great ways to use the Name Box to select in Excel.

1. Select a cell

To select a cell, type the cell reference (such as a1) in the Name Box and press Enter.

2. Select a contiguous range of cells (method 1)

To select a range of cells, type the range in the Name Box using a colon (such as a1:b20) and press Enter.

3. Select a contiguous range of cells (method 2)

To select a range of cells, type the range in the Name Box using two periods (such as a1..b20) and press Enter.

4. Select a non-contiguous range of cells (method 1)

To select a non-contiguous range of cells, type the ranges in the Name Box using colons and commas to separate the ranges (such as a1:b20,d1:d20) and press Enter.

5. Select a non-contiguous range of cells (method 2)

To select a non-contiguous range of cells, type the ranges in the Name Box using two periods and commas to separate the ranges (such as a1..b20,d1..d20) and press Enter.

6. Select intersecting ranges (method 1)

To select only the cells of two ranges that intersect, type the first range in the Name Box using a colon, press the Spacebar, type the second range in the Name Box using a colon (such as d1:d15 a4:f12) and press Enter.

7. Select intersecting ranges (method 2)

To select only the cells of two ranges that intersect, type the first range in the Name Box using two periods, press the Spacebar, type the second range in the Name Box using two periods (such as d1..d15 a4..f12) and press Enter.

8. Select entire columns or rows

To select entire columns, type the first column in the Name Box, type a colon or two periods, type the second column (such as a:c) and press Enter.

To select entire rows, type the first row in the Name Box, type a colon or two periods, type the second row (such as 1:4) and press Enter.

9. Name a cell or range of cells

To name a cell or range of cells using the Name Box:

  1. Select the cell or cells you wish to name.
  2. In the Name Box, type a name (names cannot have spaces).
  3. Press Enter.

10. Select named cells or ranges

To select a named cell or range:

  1. Click on the arrow to the right of the Name Box.
  2. Select the named cell or range you wish to select from the drop-down menu.

The Name Box is a great tool in Excel and can save you a lot of time.

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