Creating named ranges


The [highlight txt=’create named range’] instruction allows a user to name a cell or a range of cells within a particular Excel worksheet. This instruction may be especially useful where the data structure in a worksheet is constantly changing, such that the user does not have to resort to, and therefore be exposed to the risks of, complex OFFSET formulas.

[message type=”warning”]For the purposes of this article we are going to use a simple and fictitious Excel file. It has already been uploaded into a data step. You will want to replace this file with one of your own.

Please note that Excel imposes several limitations on what names can contain, including: 1) the first character of a name must be a letter, an underscore, or a backslash, 2) names must be more than 1 and less than 255 characters in length, 3) names cannot be the same as a cell reference, 4) names cannot contain spaces.[/message]

Before we get started

Please further create a ‘Manipulate a file’ or ‘Multiple file manipulations’ action step so that you can add and use instructions.

The target file that we are going to use looks like this:


1. Create a ‘Create named range’ instruction.

2. Link the file named “Target” as the target file.

3. Select Sheet1.

4. Use an Advanced Range from A1 to the last cell in ColumnA as far as D.

5. Type “Named_Range” into the ‘Range Name’ field.

6. Save and run the step.

7. After the step finishes running, download and open the target file. Check the list of named ranges:

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