How to Remove and Delete Named Ranges and References in Excel Sheets

Named ranges and references in Excel sheets can be very useful for creating clear and understandable formulas. However, when named ranges are no longer needed or referenced, it is important to remove them to keep your Excel sheets clean and organized. Here are the steps to effectively remove and delete named ranges in Excel.

What are Named Ranges?

A named range is a descriptive name assigned to a cell or range of cells in Excel. For example, instead of referring to cells A1:A10, you can name this range “SalesData”.

The key benefits of named ranges include:

  • Make formulas easier to understand
  • Allow dynamic references if the data changes size
  • Reduce chances of errors from incorrect cell references
  • Reuse names in multiple formulas without retyping

When to Remove Named Ranges

There are a few instances when you may want to delete named ranges:

  • The named range is no longer needed: If you don’t reference a named range anymore, deleting it cleans up the Excel sheet.
  • The named range refers to deleted cells: If the cells a named range refers to are deleted, the named range will show a #REF error. Deleting avoids this error.
  • Prepare Excel sheet for distribution: Deleting unused names makes it easier for others to understand your sheet.
  • Simplify overly complex sheets: Removing unnecessary named ranges simplifies formulas for future editing.

Delete Named Ranges with the Name Manager

The easiest way to delete a named range is using the Name Manager:

  1. On the Formulas tab, click Name Manager
  2. In the Name Manager dialog box, select the named range(s) to delete
  3. Click the Delete button
  4. Confirm deletion by clicking OK

You can select and delete multiple named ranges at once this way.

Tip: Use the search box to quickly find named ranges by name or cell reference.

Delete Named Ranges with VBA

To delete all named ranges in a workbook at once, you can use VBA code:

Sub DeleteAllNames()
    For Each nm In ActiveWorkbook.Names
End Sub 
  • Run this macro to delete every defined name in one click.

Common Issues with Deleting Named Ranges

You may encounter errors trying to delete named ranges:

  • #REF errors: Formulas using deleted named ranges will show #REF errors. Replace names with direct references to avoid this.
  • Name Manager won’t open: Large Excel sheets with thousands of names can crash the Name Manager. Use VBA instead.

Best Practices

Follow these tips for working with named ranges:

  • Use clear descriptive names like SalesQuarter1 instead of Q1Results
  • Keep names short but specific, like Rev2022Q1
  • Delete unused names to declutter your Excel sheet
  • Replace names before deletion if used in formulas
  • Use Name Manager to quickly find and delete names
  • For large sheets, delete all names at once with VBA

In Summary

  1. Use the Name Manager to selectively delete unwanted named ranges
  2. Employ VBA to instantly delete all named ranges
  3. Be aware that deleting names used in formulas causes errors
  4. Replace named ranges with cell references in formulas before deletion
  5. Follow naming best practices to keep Excel sheets organized

By properly removing and deleting obsolete named ranges, you can streamline your Excel sheets and prevent formula errors. Using the Name Manager or VBA macros makes it easy to clean up named ranges when no longer needed.

This covers the key steps to effectively delete and remove named ranges and references in Excel to solve issues and simplify your spreadsheets!