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How to Rename a Column in Google Sheets

Learning to rename columns in google spreadsheets can be very useful for a number of reasons. It’s something every spreadsheet user should learn how to do.

It’s also very simple once you learn how to do it.

In this short tutorial, we will cover how to rename your columns in Google Sheets.

Table of Contents

Can You Rename Columns in Google Sheets?

You cannot actually change the column headers from the default letters in Google Sheets.

But you can name columns so that you can reference these custom names in formulas. You won’t see them change on your sheet, but it can be useful for using formulas.

Alternatively, if you’re just trying to create a header row with custom names, you can write whatever you want in the first row and lock it in place so that when you scroll it stays in place.  If this is what you want to do, read our full guide on how to lock rows.

Why Rename Columns?

The biggest reason to rename your columns from the letters used by default is to make them easier to reference in your formulas.

If you start naming your columns something descriptive like quantity, sales, revenue, or something similar, then when you start adding formulas and referencing these column labels, it can make your formulas easier to understand.

It should also make it easier for you to start referencing columns when they have custom names that you have applied to them.

How to Rename Columns

If you want to rename your column for easier referencing in formulas, really what you want to do is create a Named Range.  I will show you how to do this with the data option in the top menu.

Here’s how it’s done.

1. Highlight the entire column that you want to rename by clicking the letter at the top of the column

2. Then select Data in the top menu and click Named Ranges in the drop-down menu

Named Ranges

3. In this first text box write in whatever you want to name this column, and then click Done

Named Ranges-2

4. Repeat these steps for any other columns that you want to rename. In the example, I have renamed column B to price, and column C to sales

5. Now that I have renamed these columns, I can use their names to reference in formulas.

referencing named ranges

Named Ranges Allowed Characters

If you’re trying to save your named range but you can error message, odds are you are using a character or word that is not allowed.

Named ranges:

  • Can only have letters, numbers, or underscores
  • Cannot contain spaces or punctuation
  • Can’t use cell references (A1, A1:B2, etc..)
  • Can’t start with a number
  • Can’t have the words “true” or “false”
  • Has to be between 1-250 characters in length

Closing Thoughts

Again, your column names won’t visibly change with named ranges, but it makes it much easier to keep organized with your formulas.

You can also write in whatever you named the column in the top row as a header, and then it should be much easier to understand your formulas.

More Google Sheets Tutorials:
How to Do Basic Math Calculations
How to Create Dynamic Named Ranges