Excel Tutorial: How To Change File Name On Excel


Are you tired of untitled, generic file names cluttering up your Excel workspace? Learning how to change file names in Excel is a crucial skill for anyone looking to keep their work organized and easily accessible. Whether you are managing personal finances or working on complex data analysis, having a clear and descriptive file name can save you time and frustration in the long run.

Key Takeaways

  • Changing file names in Excel is crucial for organization and accessibility
  • Clear and descriptive file names can save time and frustration
  • Best practices include using clear names, avoiding special characters, and including dates or version numbers
  • Improved organization, clear identification, and prevention of confusion are benefits of changing file names
  • Avoid common mistakes such as forgetting to update references, using long names, and lacking a consistent naming convention

Understanding File Names in Excel

File names in Excel play a crucial role in organizing and identifying different files. It helps users to quickly locate and access the desired file without confusion.

A. Explain the significance of file names in Excel
  • Organization:

    File names allow users to categorize and organize their Excel files into different folders for easy access and management.
  • Identification:

    A descriptive file name can help users to identify the content of the file without opening it, saving time and effort.
  • Searchability:

    With a relevant file name, users can easily search for specific files using keywords, making the process of finding specific data more efficient.

B. Discuss the limitations and restrictions for file names in Excel
  • Character Limitations:

    The file name in Excel can contain a maximum of 218 characters, including the file extension.
  • Special Characters:

    Certain special characters such as * \ / : ? " < > | are not allowed in file names as they can cause issues with file paths and compatibility.
  • Reserved Names:

    Certain names such as "CON," "PRN," "AUX," "NUL," "COM1," "COM2," "COM3," "COM4," "COM5," "COM6," "COM7," "COM8," "COM9," "LPT1," "LPT2," "LPT3," "LPT4," "LPT5," "LPT6," "LPT7," "LPT8," and "LPT9" are reserved and cannot be used as file names in Excel.
  • Case Sensitivity:

    File names in Excel are not case sensitive, meaning "File.xlsx" and "file.xlsx" are considered the same file.

Steps to Change File Name in Excel

Renaming an Excel file is a simple process that can help you keep your files organized. Here are the steps to change the file name in Excel:

  • Open the Excel file
  • First, open the Excel file that you want to rename.

  • Click on the "File" tab
  • Once the file is open, click on the "File" tab at the top of the window. This will open a menu of options.

  • Select "Save As"
  • From the options in the "File" tab, select "Save As". This will prompt a window to open where you can input the new file name.

  • Enter the new file name
  • In the "Save As" window, you will see a "File name" field. Enter the new file name that you want to use for the Excel file.

  • Click "Save"
  • Once you have entered the new file name, click "Save" to save the file with the new name.

Best Practices for File Naming in Excel

When it comes to organizing and managing your files in Excel, file naming is an important aspect to consider. A well-chosen file name can make it easier to locate and identify the right file, saving you time and effort. Here are some best practices for naming your Excel files:

A. Use clear and descriptive names that reflect the contents of the file

  • Be descriptive: Choose a file name that accurately reflects the content of the file. Avoid generic names like "Document" or "Spreadsheet" that provide little information about the file's contents.
  • Include keywords: Incorporate keywords that clearly indicate the subject matter of the file. This can help you and others quickly understand what the file contains.

B. Avoid using special characters or spaces in file names

  • Avoid special characters: Special characters such as #, $, %, &, and * can cause issues when navigating or opening files. Stick to alphanumeric characters, dashes, and underscores.
  • Eliminate spaces: Spaces in file names can lead to inconsistencies and errors, especially when sharing files with others or using file paths. Replace spaces with underscores or hyphens for clarity.

C. Consider including dates or version numbers in the file name for easy reference

  • Use dates: Adding dates to file names can help you keep track of the file's creation or modification date. This can be especially useful for time-sensitive or frequently updated files.
  • Include version numbers: If you regularly update and revise a file, adding a version number to the file name can help differentiate between different iterations. This can prevent confusion and ensure you are working with the correct version.

By following these best practices, you can create a more organized and efficient file naming system for your Excel files. Clear, descriptive names without special characters or spaces, and the inclusion of dates or version numbers can greatly improve file management and accessibility.

Benefits of Changing File Names in Excel

Changing the file names in Excel can bring several benefits to your workflow and help streamline your document management process. Here are some key advantages of renaming Excel files:

  • Improved organization and easy navigation

    By giving your Excel files descriptive and relevant names, you can enhance the organization of your documents. This makes it easier to locate and access specific files when needed, ultimately saving you time and effort in the long run. Additionally, it allows for seamless navigation within your file storage system.

  • Clear identification of file contents

    Renaming Excel files enables you to provide a clear indication of the contents of each document. This can be particularly helpful when sharing files with colleagues or collaborators, as they can quickly understand the purpose of the document without having to open it.

  • Prevent confusion and errors when working with multiple Excel files

    When working with multiple Excel files simultaneously, it can be easy to become confused about which file is which, especially if they have generic or similar names. By renaming the files with specific and distinguishable names, you can minimize the risk of errors and ensure that you are working with the correct documents.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

When changing the file name on Excel, there are several common mistakes that you should be mindful of in order to avoid potential issues.

A. Forgetting to update references to the file in other documents or formulas

One common mistake when changing the file name in Excel is forgetting to update any references to the file in other documents or formulas. This can lead to broken links and errors in your workbooks. Always double-check for any existing references to the file name, and update them accordingly when you make a change.

B. Using excessively long or convoluted file names

It's important to keep file names concise and descriptive, but using excessively long or convoluted file names can lead to confusion and potential errors. Keep your file names clear, simple, and relevant to the content to avoid any unnecessary complications.

C. Failing to maintain a consistent naming convention

Another common mistake is failing to maintain a consistent naming convention for your files. This can lead to difficulties in organizing and locating specific files, especially when working on collaborative projects. Establish a clear naming convention and adhere to it consistently to ensure that your files are easy to manage and locate.


Changing file names in Excel is an essential skill that can help you stay organized and save time when searching for specific files. By following the simple steps outlined in this tutorial, you can quickly and easily update file names to better reflect the content or purpose of the spreadsheet. Remember to use best practices for effective file naming, such as being descriptive, using consistent formatting, and avoiding special characters. Applying these techniques will make it easier for you and others to locate and understand your files.

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