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Loosely Coupled weblog

Friday, April 8, 2005

Cell names in Excel

Can anyone tell me, what is the point of binding cell names in Excel to absolute cell references? (I know this is a bit of a diversion from my normal subject matter, but I'm doing my accounts). Steeped in the loose coupling of the Internet, I naturally assume that naming ought to be a mechanism for virtualizing a cell address so that I don't have to remember to update the link every time I add a row to the other spreadsheet.

But no, cell naming is a way of storing the name of a function so that I don't have to remember which cell reference it's stored in. Fair enough, I can see a need for that kind of virtual naming, but I would have thought there were even more applications for the other variety, which would allow you to label a cell (for example 'March expenses') and then reference that entity in other cells without having to worry about whether the original cell ever leaves its initial location. After all, I can name my website '' and everyone knows that they'll always be able to find it, even if the physical address changes from Why doesn't Excel work like that? Is it because it was designed in an age when everyone believed everything would always have an allotted place that it is always destined to occupy? Or is it just because it was designed by people who think like that? Or have I been let down again by the help documentation and actually it does do what I want it to do, but by some other mechanism that I haven't discovered yet?

posted by Phil Wainewright 7:16 PM (GMT) | comments | link

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