Create From Selection Excel Technique: Name Multiple Cells Quickly

If you follow my blog or have read my ebook, you know that I’m a big fan of using Named Cells to make cell formulas easier to write and read. Usually, this is done by selecting the cell, clicking in the name box, and typing the cell name. This can be a slow process, but it’s really quick when you use “Create from Selection” in Excel.

Create From Selection in Excel: Quickly Create Named Cells

To ease the pain of creating cell names one-by-one, you can create cell names from a selection, instead, using the “Create from Selection” tool.

The tool is located in the Formulas menu in the “Defined Names” group.

create from selection excel ribbon

Naming Individual Cells

To use this tool, first enter the names of the cells in a column next to the cells themselves:

create from selection excel table

Next, select both the cells containing the names and the cells to be named, and open the tool from the Formulas tab.

create from selection excel

Finally, choose the appropriate position for the cells containing the names, and click OK. In my case, the names were to the left of my cells, but you could also choose top row, bottom row, or right column depending on how you’ve laid out your spreadsheet.

excel named cell

This way of adding names to cells has a couple of advantages. In addition to being more efficient, it also provides good visibility to the names of the cells for future reference.

Naming Arrays with Create from Selection

This method also works for arrays too.

If the values are arranged in a vertical array, add the name to the cell just above all of the values.

create from selection array excel

Then select the cell containing the name and all of the cells in the array of values. Finally, in the “Create from Selection” tool, choose “Top Row” instead.

Of course, if your data is in a horizontal array, add the name to the left cell and choose “left column” instead.

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By Charlie Young, P.E.

Take your engineering to the next level with advanced Excel skills.