How to Rename Columns in Google Sheets (in 5 Easy Steps)

Finding it difficult to remeber a column name? Learn how to change column name in Google Sheets...

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Shivam Kumar
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Google Sheets by default assigns a letter name (A, B, C, D, ….) to each column, which can be used to identify as well as to reference that column in formulas.

column name

The column identifier letters are always visible at the top no matter how far you scroll down, as well as they are easy to type in formulas.

However, sometimes it can be hard to remember what column contains the data you want to reference in a formula, especially when you’re dealing with a data-heavy spreadsheet.

This is where you can use the “Named Range” feature to give a column descriptive name that is easy to remember.

01. What is Named Range?

Named Range is a feature in Google Sheets that allows you to assign a name to a cell or a group of cells.

For example: Instead of using C2:C10 to reference a group of cells, you could name the range =Age This way, a formula like =MAX(C2:C10) could be written as =MAX(Age)

So, let’s find out how to rename columns in Google Sheets using the named range feature.

02. How to Rename Columns in Google Sheets Using the Name Box?

Let’s say you have a dataset as shown below, and you want to rename Column C to Age

Google Sheets table 2

We can simply select the cell ranges containing the “Age” value and change the name of the range to our desired name.

The quickest approach to do this is to make use of the name box. This is a small box, appearing at the left of the formula bar, that shows you the cell reference for the cell or cells that are currently selected in your spreadsheet.

Let’s have a look at the exact steps you need to follow:

  1. Select the range of cells you want under this column by dragging your cursor across the cells.

For instance, I want to rename the age column, I have selected C2:C10.

cell range C2 TO C10

If you want to rename the entire column, just click on the heading of one of the columns and all the cells in that column will get selected.

  1. Now, if you look at the name box field in upper left side, it will show your current selected cell range (in our case C2:C10). Just delete that text and type in your desired name.
Changing cell range name in name box google sheets

That’s it… the cell range C2:C10 name has been changed to Age.


03. How to Change Column name in Google Sheets Using Named Range Menu?

Another way to rename Google Sheets columns or rows is to use the named range menu. This menu allows you to manage existing named ranges as well as create new ones.

This time I am going to rename the column containing the admission date of students.

Google Sheets table 2

Here is how it works:

  1. First of all, select the required range of cells by clicking and dragging the mouse cursor over the cells. If you want to rename the entire column, just click on the heading letter of that column to select the entire column.
select column
  1. Click on the Data menu appearing in top menu bar.
  1. Click on Named Range option that appears in the drop-down menu.
named range
  1. The “Named Ranges” menu will open as a panel on the right. Type your desired name in the first field. Make sure the column range is correct in second field. In case it isn’t, you can change it in the second field.

Finally hit the “Done” button.

rename columns in Google Sheets

That’s it… “Column D” has been now renamed to “Date.”

Before we move on to one more approach for naming a column, I would like to answer two questions that you might have…

How to Edit or Remove Named Range?

To edit or remove a named range, click “Data” >> “Named Range.”

named range google sheets

This will bring up the named range menu in a sidebar on the right side of the window. There you’ll find all your existing named range. Hover over your desired name and click the edit (pencil) icon.

edit named range

Now you can either modify the named range or click the delete icon to remove it from your spreadsheet.

delete named range

How to Reference a Named Column in Formulas?

Now that you have named your column, it’s time to use them in formulas.

Here’s how:

Double click on a cell where you want to add your formula, then begin typing the formula as you normally would.

Entering formula

When you want to reference a column, instead of using the cell range to reference your column, type in the name of the named range.

using named range in formula of Google Sheets

As soon as I referenced “Age” it selected all the cell range that was part of the Age column’s named range (i.e. C2:C10)

Press enter to see the formula applied in the column referenced by its name. 

formula using named range

04. Freeze the Column Heading – Alternative Option

Another reason why you may want to rename a column in Google Sheets is to make sure that the heading of each column item remains visible when you scroll down the sheet.

Unfortunately, it is not possible to rename the alphabetical sticky column heading you see on the top (A, B, C, D, E…..)

However, you can use a workaround:

You can freeze the top row containing the heading for your items in the table. This way, the header of each column will remain visible when you scroll down.

Here is how it works:

  1. Enter the desired heading of each column in the first row of your sheet.
Google Sheets table 2
  1. Click the view option appearing in the top menu.
View option in google sheets menu
  1. Hover the cursor over the Freeze option and select 1 row
freeze heading row

That’s it… Now your heading row will remain visible when you scroll down the spreadsheet.

Freezed row google sheets


05. Final Thought On Renaming Column in Google Sheets

It is technically not possible to rename the original column heading in Google Sheets. However, there are a few workarounds that make things a little simple and easy.

For example, if you’re finding it difficult to always remember the cell range to use in a formula, defining a named range to a cell range (or entire column) will let you quickly refer to the data that you wish to use without requiring the original cell reference.

On the other hand, if you wish to freeze the column heading on top, then the freezing feature of Google Sheets will make things easier for you.

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