Essential Excel Skill #3: Creating and Using Named Cell Ranges in Excel

Essential Skill #3 - Using Named Cell Ranges

Essential Excel Skill 33 – Using Named Cell Ranges

I believe that there are two main reasons to create and use Named Cell Ranges in Excel”

  • They make great Navigational Bookmarks – to quickly move to a specific location in your workbook
  • Using Named Cell Ranges in Excel Formulas make the formula:
    • Easier to Write
    • Easier to Explain – to others
    • Easier to Understand – when you need to edit it or copy it.

9 Essential Excel Skills

My latest Excel Video Training Resource: “9 Essential Excel Skills,” contains 4 hours of focused video training. There are a total of 25 individual video tutorials in the resource.

Here, in this lesson, I demonstrate several of the tips and techniques that I present in Essential Skill # 3. I show you how easy it is to create and use Named Cell Ranges in Excel Formulas and Functions.

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Instructional Guide “9 Essential Excel 2010 Skills” – Download for Free

Instructional Guide "9 Essential Excel 2010 Skills"

Instructional Guide “9 Essential Excel 2010 Skills”

I want you to discover the scope of the Excel Training that I offer on my new video tutorial, “9 Essential Excel 2010 Skills.” So, I am offering the PDF of the Step-by-Step Instructional Guide that accompanies the video tutorial.

Link to The Company Rocks Free Resources Page

Click on this link to begin the download process for the Instructional Guide.

Instructions for Downloading the Free Instructional Guide

  1. Add this product to your secure shopping cart at my website.
  2. During Checkout, you can choose to either Register or Shop as a Guest
  3. You will need to provide a valid email address in order to receive the actual link to download my Instructional Guide.
  4. Even though you will be downloading this product, I had to set it up as a physical product with “Free Shipping.”
  5. Shortly after you complete the checkout process you will receive an email that contains a hyperlink to the file that you will download.
  6. You will be downloading a “zipped” file. So, once the download is completed, be sure to “unzip” this file!
  7. I created my Instructional Guide using the free Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Read the Instructional Guide and then Purchase my Video!

I am convinced that once you see the scope of the training in Excel 2010 that I offer, you will want to purchase the video tutorial. I offer my video in tow versions:

List of the “9 Essential Excel 2010 Skills”

9 Essential Skills for Excel 2010

9 Essential Skills for Excel 2010 Video Tutorial

These are the 9 Essential Skills that I have identified for my video tutorial:

  1. Entering Data Efficiently in Excel 2010
  2. Selecting Cell Ranges Efficiently in Excel 2010
  3. Creating and Using Named Cell Ranges in Excel 2010
  4. Applying Styles and Formatting to Excel 2010 Worksheets
  5. Working with Structured Data Sets in Excel 2010
  6. Working with Excel 2010 Formulas and Functions
  7. Using Paste Special Options in Excel 2010
  8. Using Data Validation in Excel 2010
  9. Using Excel 2010 “What-if” Analysis Tools

Excel 2010 Practice Files Included

When you purchase my video tutorial, you receive the same Excel 2010 Worksheets that I used while filming each of the 25 video tutorials. Using the same files as you view my videos, you will be able to practice your new skills. And, of course, you also receive the same Instructional Guide that I am offering for free!

I welcome your feedback! Please send me your comments via email – – or by adding a comment below.

Thank you!


Review for my Latest Publication – “9 Essential Skills for Excel 2010”

Main Menu Essential Skills for Excel

Main Menu for “9 Essential Excel Skills”

I just received a fabulous review, from one of my viewers, for my video tutorial, “9 Essential Skills for Excel 2010.”

Read this Review

Product Reviews

It’s really a master piece!!

Posted by Tamoghna on 8th Sep 2012

“I was a beta tester of “9 Essential Excel Skills- Excel 2010” by Danny Rocks. In one word this is an excellent resource for anyone who wants to master those essential skills which are required to use excel professionally. There are total 9 chapters which consist of a series of dense but brief video lessons.

The lessons have been planned in a careful way so that the viewers are introduced from simple to more complex topics.

Surely you are going to be amazed by the incredible picture and sound quality of the videos. I had a feeling as if I was watching an excel movie while putting my head phone. Danny has several qualities as an instructor. His pace of delivery and voice modulation is just fantastic and if you are not an absolute excel-newbie watching a video just one time is enough. Before starting each lesson he gives a brief introduction so that you can connect what you learned in the previous lesson. He also repeats and stresses some part which you will find really helpful.

Another great take away from this video tutorial is a bunch of great keyboard shortcuts and best excel practices which you can expect only from an excel veteran. Among so many other things I was left with surprise why I didn’t use “page layout view” and “vertical alignment formatting” before! Even if you are an advanced excel user surely you are going to learn a lot of useful tricks including some commonly encountered gotchas and how to avoid them.

I won’t be taken aback If this product goes every corner of the excel user community and becomes best seller in this field.”

Learn More About My Video Tutorial

I have produced the “9 Essential Skills for Excel 2010” in two formats:

Both versions include 4 hours of video instruction. 25 individual video tutorials. The Excel Practice files that I used while filming the video tutorials. A PDF of the Step-by-step Instructional Guide that I created for these video lessons.

Version for Excel 2007 Now Available!

DVD-ROM, "9 Essential Excel 2007 Skills"

DVD-ROM, “9 Essential Excel 2007 Skills”

I have just published “9 Essential Excel 2007 Skills” for DVD-ROM. Click to to get more information about my latest publication.

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How to Combine 2 Excel Workbooks Using VLOOKUP Function

VLOOKUP Function Arguments

VLOOKUP Function Arguments

I created this video tutorial to assist one of my viewers. He had 2 Excel Workbooks that he needed to combine. Because he had a MemberID Field in each workbook, I decided that the VLOOKUP() Function would be the fastest way to complete this task for my viewer.

Tips Covered in this Video

  • Move or Copy a Worksheet to another Excel Workbook
  • Use a Mixed Cell Reference – e.g. $A4 – so that column “A” reference is “frozen” when copying formula
  • Create “Named Range” to use as the “Table_Array” argument in VLOOKUP
  • Use FALSE as 4th (optional) argument in VLOOKUP to produce an “exact match”
  • Use IFERROR to prevent “error messages” from displaying

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How to Use Named Ranges in Existing Excel Formulas

Paste Named Ranges in Formula

Paste Named Ranges in Formula

I am a strong proponent for using Named Cell Ranges when creating Excel Formulas. But what if you have already created formulas – formulas that use cell references. How do you insert or apply a newly created named range into an existing Excel Formula?

Simple answer – watch this short video to see me demonstrate how this is done.

Better answer:

Follow These Steps

  1. Activate in-cell formula editing by either double-clicking the formula cell or using the Keyboard Shortcut F2.
  2. Highlight the cell reference that you wish to replace with a named range.
  3. Choose the Name from the “Use in Formulas” drop-down menu. You can also use the F3 Keyboard Shortcut to open the Paste Names Dialog Box.
  4. Repeat these steps to complete replacing additional cell references with named cell ranges.

Learn to Get the Most from Excel

On my DVD-ROM, “The 50 Best Tips for Excel 2007,” I offer 5 1/2 hours of video instruction. You will be amazed at how much more you can get out of Excel when you invest in this valuable resource. I invite you to visit my secure, online shopping website to learn more about the resources that I offer.

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3 Reasons to Create and Use Named Ranges in Excel Formulas

Use Named Ranges in Formulas

Use Named Ranges in Formulas

In my opinion, there are three reasons to use Named Range references in Excel Formulas:

  1. They are easier to write. Particularly, if you are referencing cells in another worksheet.
  2. They are easier to remember. Using =Sales – Cost of Goods Sold to determine Gross Profit vs. =A1 – B1
  3. They are easier to explain. Especially, if you are sending an Excel Workbook to a client or a colleague.

Creating Named Ranges in Excel

In this tutorial, I demonstrate two methods for creating a named range:

  1. Select the cells in the range and then type the name in the “Name Box” in the Upper Left Corner of the worksheet.
  2. Select both the cell with the “Name” and the adjacent cells for the range. Then use the Keyboard Shortcut Ctrl + Shit + F3 to open the Create Names from Selection Dialog Box

Remember that all Named Ranges MUST begin with a Letter or an Underscore and they CANNOT contain any Spaces!

Paste Named Ranges into Formulas

If you are using Excel 2007 or Excel 2010, you can take advantage of Formula AutoComplete to quickly and accurately include named ranges in your formulas. In ALL versions of Excel you can use the F3 Keyboard Shortcut to open the Paste Names Dialog Box and select the named range that you wish to paste into your formula.

Additional Resources for Excel

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How to SUM Values in One Field Based on Criteria from Multiple Fields in Excel

SUMIFS and DSUM Functions

SUMIFS and DSUM Functions

The new SUMIFS() Function was introduced in Excel 2007. With SUMIFS, you can sum the values in one field based up criteria that comes from multiple fields. This is a very valuable Function.

SUMIFS Function

The key to understanding SUMIFS, is that you “pair” a criteria range with the criteria for that range. As you watch my tutorial, the importance of this concept will become clear to you.

DSUM Function

If you are using – or need to create workbooks that are compatible with – older versions of Excel – e.g. Excel 2003, you can use the DSUM Function to achieve the same results. The DSUM belongs to the Database Functions set in Excel.

Use Named Cell Ranges in Formulas

I highly recommend that you learn how to create – and then use – named cell references in your Excel Formulas and Functions. In this tutorial, I show you how to do this. Once you have created a named cell reference, you can use the F3 Keyboard Shortcut to show a dialog box that lists all of the named Ranges that you can post into your formulas. This will save you time and help to ensure accuracy in your formulas – especially when you cop a formula to another location.

Bonus: Create Drop-down Menu with Data Validation

When using Multiple Criteria, I like to be able to select my criteria values from a drop-down list. In this lesson, I demonstrate how to do this using Data Validation in Excel.

Learn More Excel Tips

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Refer to an Excel Table Field When Writing Formulas

Refer to Excel Table in Formula

Refer to Excel Table in Formula

While I strongly recommend creating “Named Ranges” that you can refer to in an Excel Formula, there is one drawback. By default, “named ranges” refer to “Absolute” Cells – e.g. $A$1:$A$15

However, what happens when your data set expands? For example, when you add records beyond row 15 in this case.  Now, your formulas do not refer to the additional data in each field. You need to find a way to automatically expand the range of cells that your formula refers to.

Tables in Excel 2007 and Excel 2010

Fortunately, if you are using either Excel 2007 or Excel 2010, you can “format” your data set as an EXCEL TABLE and take advantage of many great options:

  • When you append records (rows) , the definition of your Table automatically expands.
  • You can “name” your table to reflect its contents. For example, in this video I name my Table – DRTable –  and I refer to it in my formulas.

Writing Formulas that Refer to Excel Table Field

In this video tutorial I use the SUMIF Function. Remember that I have “named”my table DRTable. Here is how I begin my formula. =SUMIF(DRTable[Customer]. Notice the use of brackets ([ ]) around the [Customer] Field in the formula. This is the gotcha step in this lesson.

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How to Use SUMIF in Excel to Total Year-to-Date Sales

One of my viewers asked for my help to use the SUMIF Function in Excel to total Year-to-Date (YTD) Sales. Generally, the SUMIF Function is very easy to set up and use. However, when you need to refer to a “date” in the criteria argument, there is a “Got’cha” step.

How to Write the Formula for Year-to-Date Sales

=SUMIF(Date, “<=”&TODAY(), Sales) Notice how the <= comparison operator is enclosed within ” ” (Quotation Marks) and I use the & (ampersand) to join the TODAY() Function. Be careful when you write this fomula. In my experience, when I try to write THIS formula in the “Functions Argument” Dialog Box, I almost always get an Error Message.

Create and Use Named Cell Ranges in SUMIF Function

As a best practice, I encourage you to create and use “Named Cell Ranges” in your formulas. This is especially helpful with the SUMIF, SUMIFS, COUNTIF, COUTIFS functions because you are usually looking inside extensive ranges of data.

Another Way to Total Year-to-Date Sales

For many years, I did not realize that there was a SUMIF Function. So, I used to create an extra column and write to formulas to compute the YTD Sales. If you do want to or need to see YTD sales in each cell, I show you how to do this by writing just one formula.

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Click here to learn about my 24 minute video recordings “Introducing Pivot Tables.” I have two versions – One for Excel 2003 and one for Excel 2007. I am offering both of them as a “free of charge” downloadable product!

How to Use Conditional Formatting to Compare Two Excel Lists

Clients and viewers frequently ask me to help them to compare two differeny lists in Excel. They want to find – or highlight – the values that are different in each list. For example, which customers appear in the 1st list but NOT in the 2nd list. So, I created this video lesson to demonstrate how to do this with Conditional Formatting.

In an earlier Excel Video Lesson, I demonstrated how to compare two Excel lists using either the MATCH() Function or the VLOOKUP() Function.

Conditional Formatting Rule

Conditional Formatting Rule

Use Conditional Formatting

I demonstrate how to use Conditional Formatting to Highlight the Cell Values that are different when you compare two Excel Lists. I will use a “New Rule with a Formula” that must return the answer TRUE, to trigger the special formatting.

In Conditional Formatting, you first establish a “condition” that can be answered as either TRUE or FALSE. Then, for those cells where the answer to the condition is TRUE. the special “cell formatting” that you chose will apply.

In this lesson we will be using this Formula: =COUNTIF(List 2, 1st cell in List 1) = 0.

Steps to follow:

  1. Select the cells that you want the Conditional Formatting to apply to- in our example List 1.
  2. On the Home Tab of the Ribbon, click the Conditional Formatting arrow and select New Rule.
  3. Select New Rule – “Use a Formula to determine which cells to format.”
  4. Enter the formula – e.g. =COUNTIF(Range, Criteria) = 0 where the “Range” is the list of values in List 2 (Absolute Reference) and the “Criteria” is the 1st cell reference in List 1 (Relative Reference).
  5. Choose the Format for the cells when the condition is met – the result is TRUE. In this example, I choose to “FILL” the cells with a Blue background color.

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