Three New Year’s Resolutions for Navigating in your Excel Workbooks

This article shows how to navigate in your Excel workbook with ease. Below is a basic sample worksheet. Notice the Name Box. When you place your mouse near or over that area, the description  Name Box appears. The usefulness of this small feature is a bit overwhelming. For now, it is good to know that not only does it show the current cell’s address, it can also be used as a ‘Go To’ box.  If you know exactly or even approximately where you want to go, this little portal can take you there quickly.

The first New Year’s Resolution challenge: Develop your comfort with using the Name Box for navigating in your Excel sheets. For example, if you start with typing A1 + Enter in the Name Box—you guessed it!—it will take you to the top corner of your worksheet.

The more advanced Excel user may have hidden rows or columns. If you type an address for a hidden location the cursor will change as described below: If the column or row is hidden, it will place the cursor where the cell should be.

When you start navigating through your document by typing in an address rather than simply scrolling, you will find that it is more efficient. It takes a little time to develop the mindset and habit, but it is well worth it as it leads to the comfort zone of taking on the next two, time-saving challenges. You will first notice that you start thinking of your worksheet with greater attention to the address of where things are located.  You may even write them down on your scratch pad for quick reference.

The second New Year’s Resolution challenge: Create named cell addresses.  Again, this is a habit and mindset to develop.  Start by creating named addresses for locations that you frequently visit, especially if they are out of view.

To create a named address: 

  • Place your cursor in the cell you want to name. 
  • Then place your cursor in the name box.
  •  Type a name with no spaces (use “_ “ in place of the space). 


Remember, using the name box to create address names will increase your efficiency and promote you to being a savvy (or savvier) Excel user.  It is a habit and a mindset—so be patient and diligent with this resolution. 

The third New Year’s Resolution challenge: Building on our previous two skills is the next resolution, to navigate to preselected ranges. Following is an example, select the range à type an address name in the Name Box.  Then select that address name from the drop down.

Enjoy your new navigation tools. With a little practice, these tools will speed up your Excel movements and help you zip thru large worksheets, even workbooks.

Cathy Goetz | Business Software Consultant

Cathy is responsible for supporting clients with their Microsoft Dynamics GP solutions. From the beginning, she helps her clients determine the scope of their project and provides software demonstrations. Her expertise in gathering requirements will produce a carefully planned system for successful implementation and configuration.

Cathy holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and Elementary Education from Jamestown College in Jamestown, ND. Cathy has over 28 years and a wide range of industry experience in Agriculture, Retail Logistics, Construction, Contracting, Education, Finance, Food, Gaming, Real Estate, Property Management, Legal, Government and Nonprofit. Her roles included management positions, database analyst, application developer, software consultant and trainer, business owner, founder, teacher, and senior accountant. She has been involved with several ERP implementation projects, including Dynamics GP. Her specialties include data migration, Microsoft Access application development, data integration, data cleansing, database normalizing, and developing relational databases from legacy systems. She is highly skilled in report writing, documentation, developing training materials, and presentations. Cathy is certified as a Microsoft Certified Master Instructor for Microsoft Office and has recently completed an accounting program at Frederick Community College. She is currently preparing for the CPA examination.

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