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Articles Hierarchy

Multiplan Part 6 by Audrey Bucher

This article will deal with the Name Command. This command assigns a name to a cell or an area of cells. The name may then be used to refer to that cell or area in a command or formula.

NAME:define name:
to refer to:
Enter name

This is the command line you will see when you select the Name command. The proposed response for the 'define name' field is either blank or text. If the cell pointer is on a cell that contains text, MP proposes that text as the name to be defined. This makes it easy to convert a row or column title into a name. For instance in our checkbook example, if the cell pointer is on R3C4, MP would propose Food as the name. Text used as Titles and Names are very different and should not be confused. However, it will be easier to read your formulas if the names in them correspond to the visible titles on your worksheet. I must admit, I am always looking for ways to save keystrokes, so I would name my columns with the first letter of the title, such as F or R. To change the response, simply type the new response. Now tab over to the next field 'to refer to'. The proposed response here is either the active cell, or, if the last name defined was a vector (portion of a row or column), the same vector shifts to the active row or column. This feature makes defining parallel groups a simple task. If the name you enter is already defined, after you press Tab, the proposed response in the 'to refer to' field will show the current definition.

For now, let's define the area for Food or F as R3:14C4. Using the arrow key, move the cell pointer to the next column, R3C5 (Rent). Notice, the 'refer to' field already has R3:14C5 proposed, as the previous name defined was a vector. This really makes it easy. Now just go along and name the remaining columns. You may also want to name columns 1 and 2 as this will make it easier to get around the spreadsheet with the GoTo command.

Named cells are very easy to locate by using the GoTo command. Press G for GoTo and N or enter for Name. You may use the direction keys to step through the list of names. When the name you want appears, press enter and the cell pointer will go to the first cell in the named area....to the leftmost cell if the area is a row, to the uppermost cell if it is a column and to the left uppermost cell if it is a block of cells. Now here's a secret that I can't find in the manual. I learned this from the User Notes in the January 1987 issue of Micropendium. (Thanks to Dave Erickson of San Jose).. Suppose you enter check number 1234 in column 1, right arrow and type Duq Light in the next column. Now you want the entry to go in the Utility column. Hit G for GoTo, Enter for name and type in Utilities, followed by a space and the letter R. The cell pointer will go to the Utility column in the same row instead of the uppermost cell.

I would have named that column U so it is very simple to type U (sp) R and I'm exactly where I want to be. You may also use this technique with NAMEd rows replacing the R with a C. MP recognizes lowercase entries equally with upper case entries so it isn't necesary to use the shift or alpha lock keys in the name areas.

Names may be up to 31 characters long and must begin with a letter, but the rest of the characters may be any combination of letters, numbers, the period or the underscore. Illegal characters are ignored and underscores are substituted for blanks embedded in text strings. So if you left column 2 as Paid To, it will actually be Paid_To in the Name area.

To see the names that have been defined, select the name command and use the direction keys to display each defined name and it's definition in the command fields. To change the definition of a name after viewing it, use the edit keys to alter the response in the 'refer to' field and press enter.

Names may be deleted by making them refer to no area. Example...enter the name in the 'define name' field, tab to the 'refer to' field, delete the response and press Enter.

Names are also useful for building formulas but we'll save that for another time.

The last thing I would like you to do at this time is to name the area, R16C4:10, as January and next month, we'll see how we can use this with the External Copy command for another worksheet that we will call Expenses for 1988.

Don't forget to save your worksheet now.

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