How To Rename A Column In Google Sheets
Google Sheets automatically assigns a letter name to each column, which can be used to reference that column in formulas:
The column letters are always visible at the top of each column, even when you scroll down, and they’re easy to type for formulas.
However, sometimes it can be confusing to have to remember what column contains the data you want to reference in a formula, especially if the spreadsheet is large or changes often.
For these cases, we can use Named Ranges to give columns names that can be referenced in formulas more easily.
The nice thing about this approach is that even if you change the order of your columns later, the named range will move with the column so you don’t have to worry about changes to the spreadsheet.
How to Name a Column Using Named Ranges
Follow these steps to give your columns names you can easily reference in formulas:
Click on the column letter at the top of the column to select the entire column
Open the Data menu and click on Named Ranges. The Named Ranges sidebar will open
In the Named Ranges sidebar, type in the name you want for your column.
This should be something short but descriptive as you will be using it to reference the column in formulas later.
If your column has a header, a good choice will often be to use the text from the column header as the name.
Once you’ve selected a name for your column, click Done to save the name
You’ll see the named range appear in the list in the sidebar
Repeat steps 1-3 to add any additional column names
Note that you can always open the Named Range sidebar again using the instructions in step 2 to check what named ranges your spreadsheet contains
How to Reference a Named Column in Formulas
Now that you’ve named your columns, it’s time to use those names in formulas.
Double click on the cell in which you want to add a formula to enter edit mode, then begin typing your formula as you normally would
When you want to reference a column, instead of using the column letter to reference your column, type in the name of the named range.
You’ll know that the name is working because it will change color when you finish typing the name
You can now use the column names you’ve created in formulas anywhere in your spreadsheet and don’t have to type unclear A1 notation references
Example Spreadsheet: Make a copy of the example spreadsheet
In this tutorial, I covered how to rename a column in Google Sheets. Want more? Check out all the Google Sheets Tutorials.
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