Name a range of cells

You can create meaningful categories in your spreadsheets by naming ranges of cells. Naming ranges is a way to assign a name to a cell or a group of cells so that they are easier to keep track of and so that formulas can be created more cleanly.

For example, instead of using "A1:B2" to describe a range of cells, you could name the range "budget_total" so that formulas like =SUM(A1:B2, D4:E6) can be simpler and more intuitive written as =SUM(budget_total, quarter2).

Create a range name

  1. Open your spreadsheet.
  2. Select the cell or range of cells that you want to define.
  3. Click the Data menu.
  4. Select Named ranges.
  5. Name your range in the first text field in the menu that appears on the right.
  6. Your selected range should already be defined in the second text field. If you’d like to make changes or enter a new range, click on the Grid spreadsheet grid icon to the right of the text box and highlight the range in the spreadsheet. You can also type the range manually into the text box.
  7. Click Done.

Guidelines for how to name a range

  • A range name can only contain letters, numbers, and underscores.
  • It can't start with a number, or the words "true" or "false."
  • It must be greater than zero characters, but less than 250 characters.
  • It can't contain any spaces.
  • It can't contain punctuation, for example commas, periods, dashes, and exclamation points.
  • It can't be evaluated as a range in either A1 or R1C1 syntax. (In other words, don't give your range a name like "A1:B2" or "R1C1:R2C2", which already refer to a specific range on your spreadsheet and which may be misinterpreted as such by Google Sheets.)
  • A named range can be renamed, however renaming a range may break formulas or references to the original range name.

Delete a range name

  1. Open your spreadsheet.
  2. Click the Data menu.
  3. Select Named ranges.
  4. Click the Edit button next to the named range you want to delete.
  5. Click the Trash button in the range description
  6. Select Remove.

When you delete a named range, any formulas referencing this named range will no longer work. However, protected ranges that reference a named range will swap out the named range for the cell values themselves and continue to work.

Mary is a Docs & Drive expert and author of this help page. Leave her feedback below about the page.

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