How to Rename a Worksheet in Excel

Rename Excel worksheets.

Two changes that make it easier to organize and identify worksheets and the data they contain are to rename the worksheet and to change the color of the worksheet tab that contains the name at the bottom of the work area.

Learn how to rename a worksheet in Excel 2019, Excel 2016, Excel 2013, Excel 2010, Excel 2019 for Mac, Excel 2016 for Mac, Excel for Mac 2011, and Excel Online.

Using Keyboard Hot Keys

Rename Excel sheets

In Excel 2019, Excel 2016, Excel 2013, or Excel 2010, you can use a keyboard shortcut to rename a worksheet tab. 

Note: The Alt key does not have to be held down while the other keys are pressed, as with some keyboard shortcuts. Each key is pressed and released in succession.

What this set of keystrokes does is activate the ribbon commands. Once the last key in the sequence - the R - is pressed and released, the current name on the sheet tab of the current or active sheet is highlighted.

  1. Press and release in sequence the following key combination to highlight the name of the active sheet: Alt + H + O + R.
  2. Type the new name for the worksheet;
  3. Press the Enter key on the keyboard to complete renaming the worksheet.

Double-Click the Sheet Tab

This method works in all versions of Excel for Windows, Mac or Online.

  1. Double-click on the current name in the worksheet tab to highlight the current name in the tab.
  2. Type the new name for the worksheet.
  3. Press the Enter key on the keyboard to complete renaming the worksheet.
  4. The new name should be visible on the worksheet tab.

Right-Click the Sheet Tab

This method works in all versions of Excel for Windows, Mac or Online.

  1. Right-click on the tab of the worksheet you want to rename to open the context menu.
  2. Click on Rename in the menu list to highlight the current worksheet name.
  3. Type the new name for the worksheet.
  4. Press the Enter key on the keyboard to complete renaming the worksheet.
  5. The new name should be visible on the worksheet tab.

Access the Ribbon Option with the Mouse

Rename Excel sheets from the ribbon.

This method works in all versions of Excel for Windows, Mac or Online.

  1. Click on the tab of the worksheet to be renamed to make it the active sheet.
  2. Click on the Home tab of the ribbon.
  3. Click Format in the Cells group to open the drop-down menu.
  4. Click on Rename Sheet to highlight the sheet tab at the bottom of the screen.
  5. Type the new name for the worksheet.
  6. Press the Enter key on the keyboard to complete renaming the worksheet.

View All Sheet Tabs in a Workbook

If a workbook contains a large number of worksheets or the horizontal scroll bar has previously been extended, not all the sheet tabs may be visible at one time - especially since as the sheet names get longer, so do the tabs.

To correct this situation,

  1. Place the mouse pointer over the vertical ellipsis (three vertical dots) next to the horizontal scrollbar.
  2. The mouse pointer will change to a double-headed arrow - as shown in the image above when it is correctly positioned.
  3. Press and hold down the left mouse button and drag the pointer to the right to enlarge the area for sheet tabs to be displayed - or to the left to enlarge the scrollbar.

Excel Worksheet Name Restrictions

There are a few restrictions when it comes to renaming an Excel worksheet:

  • A name cannot exceed 31 characters in length.
  • A worksheet name cannot be left blank.
  • The following characters cannot be used in a name: \ / ? : * [ 

Using Worksheet Names in Excel Formulas

Renaming a worksheet not only makes it easier to keep track of individual sheets in a large workbook, but it has the added benefit of making it easier to understand formulas that span multiple worksheets.

When a formula includes a cell reference from a different worksheet the worksheet name is included in the formula.

If the default worksheet names are used - such as Sheet2, Sheet3 - the formula will look something like this:

=Sheet3!C7+Sheet4!C10

Giving the worksheets a descriptive name - such as May Expenses and June Expenses - can make the formula easier to decipher. For example:

 ='May Expenses'!C7+'June Expenses'!C10

Using Worksheet Names in Excel Formulas

Renaming a worksheet not only makes it easier to keep track of individual sheets in a large workbook, but it has the added benefit of making it easier to understand formulas that span multiple worksheets.

When a formula includes a cell reference from a different worksheet the worksheet name is included in the formula.

If the default worksheet names are used - such as Sheet2, Sheet3 - the formula will look something like this:

=Sheet3!C7+Sheet4!C10

Giving the worksheets a descriptive name - such as May Expenses and June Expenses - can make the formula easier to decipher. For example:

 ='May Expenses'!C7+'June Expenses'!C10