Microsoft Excel: How To Name A Worksheet

In Excel, there are a few different methods to rename worksheets. This guide will take you through each of them, so you can find whichever approach suits you best.

When working in an Excel workbook with multiple worksheets, it is vital to create a new name for each to ensure that you don’t get confused and waste time when navigating your work. Sheet1 Sheet2 are not particularly helpful names!

This is very similar to naming ranges of cells so that they can easily be remembered.

Renaming a Worksheet is one of the many skills covered in our Intermediate Excel training  session. If you wish to attend, please contact us.


Rename A Worksheet With A Double Click or Right Click

This method is the most simple way to rename a worksheet.

1) Navigate to the bottom left of Excel to find the sheet tabs. Here we can see Sheet1 Sheet2.

2) Double click the sheet tab you want to rename – this will let you edit it

Highlights the new Sheet name


You can also right click the sheet tab and then click rename to get to the same place!

right clicking the tab shows the rename option

3) Enter the new name for the sheet

4) Hit the Enter key to save ! You can see the new worksheet name in the sheet tabs on the bottom left. If you wish to change it again simply double click the sheet tab again.

Shows where to click the sheet to name it


In the case you have multiple sheets, you will have to repeat this for each sheet.

Once you have a good handle on Excel, you can read our guide on linking Word and Excel to send your data between softwares.


Rename A Worksheet Using The Format Option

The Excel ribbon contains just about every tool in Excel, including the ability to rename a worksheet.

1) While you are on the sheet you want to rename, click on the Home tab

2) Go along to the “Cells” section and click “Format”

Shows the cells area of the ribbon

3) Click “Rename Sheet” and type in the new name

Where to find the Rename Sheet option to click


4) Hit the Enter key to save ! You can see the new worksheet name in the sheet tabs on the bottom left

Shows the new sheet name


Rename A Worksheet Using Keyboard Hotkeys

Every version of Excel since 2010 includes a keyboard shortcut that will rename a worksheet.

1) Press and release the following keys in order: Alt + H + O + R . You will notice this brings up the same menu as the Format Option!

Shows the rename Sheet option using hotkeys

2) Type the new name for the worksheet.


3) Hit the Enter key to save ! You will again see the new worksheet name in the sheet tabs on the bottom left


Shows the effected Sheet name change


This keyboard shortcut makes it so you don’t even need to touch your mouse when renaming a sheet! Alt H O R is the perfect method for anyone more comfortable on a keyboard.


Rules For Sheet Naming In Excel

There are a couple of rules you have to follow in Excel for a name to work.

1) An Excel worksheet name can be no more than 31 characters long

2) Excel worksheet names can not be blank

3) Excel worksheet names must be unique (no two sheets can have the same name)

4) You can’t have an apostrophe (‘) at the beginning or end of the name

5) You can’t use certain special characters anywhere in the name. These characters are: ? : * \ / [ ]

6) Finally you cannot call a sheet “History”

Usually you won’t run into these issues, but in case Excel doesn’t let you save the sheet name – refer to this list!


Tips for Sheet Naming In Excel

These are some general tips when naming your Worksheet tab in Excel!

1) Make your sheet names unique – this will allow you to recognise the sheets among each other

2) Make sheet names descriptive – have the sheet name describe what it contains so its clear before you open it (as long as it’s below 31 characters!)

3) Keep sheet names short – while the name should describe its contents, if a worksheet tab name is too long it will be a pain to sort through when there are many sheets.

These rules will keep a worksheet name efficient. When you are working with several, this will save you time. They also help you keep in the rules excel has, particularly staying under 31 characters. If you want to learn more about how you can keep your data organised and easy to read, view our comprehensive guide on excel font formatting here.

About Ben Richardson

Ben is a director of Acuity Training which he has been running for over 10 years.

He is a Natural Sciences graduate from the University of Cambridge and a qualified accountant with the ICAEW.

He previously worked as a venture capitalist and banker and so had extensive experience with Excel from building financial models before moving to learn SQL, Microsoft Power BI and other technologies more recently.