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Chapter 19. Auditing and Validating Work... > Using Names in Excel to Improve Work...

Using Names in Excel to Improve Worksheet Accuracy

Excel lets you name cell ranges, constant values, and formulas. These names can then be used in formulas instead of cell references. Using names makes it much easier not only to enter formulas, but also to instantly see if a formula is entered correctly. Names help reduce the chance of errors in your formulas because in most cases, you are more likely to type a name correctly than a cell or range address. There are many advantages to using names in Excel:

  • You can use named ranges with Excel's Go To command. For example, you can press Ctrl+G (Go To) and then type Sales, one of your named ranges. You are instantly transported to the named range of cells. You can also use the Name drop-down list box to choose one of the defined names to which to jump.

  • Names make it easier for others to quickly understand your worksheet models. It's much easier to understand =Square_Footage*Lease_Rate than to see what =A5*D15 refers to.

  • You can create named constants. For example, you can create a constant named Days_in_Current_Month and set it to the number of days in the current month. When the month changes to one with a different number of days, just change the constant value and all formulas that use that name will automatically adjust.

  • Names are inherently less prone to error than cell references. If a cell reference you type is one number or letter off, you can get an incorrect result that may appear correct because the referenced cell has a similar value to the cell you intended. Typing a name with even one letter wrong displays the #NAME? error.

  • You can create named formulas. These names can then be used in cells instead of typing a traditional formula. The advantage here is that you can make a single change to the named formula, and all places where the named formula is referenced will receive the change automatically.



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