Name some ranges, get a massage!
July 5, 2005 9:27 AM   Subscribe

Help me get a professional massage! What is a "named range" in Excel and how do I create one? I cannot import an .xls file into her outlook contact folder until I address this issue.

I guess this is more of an Excel problem than anything else.

I promised a friend (a professional masseuse) that I would set her up with a POP3 account (done!) and import her contact list (an .xls file) into her Outlook contact folder.

In exchange she gives me an hour session!

In Outlook I do the whole File>Import/Export thing, select the file to be imported, select it's destination, yet it tells me that it cannot import as the file needs "named ranges." I assume this is something to be done in Excel, but what does it mean, and exactly how do I name ranges?

Her file is layed out like so:

Cell A1: Last name (then all last names listed in the column below)
Cell B1: First Name (then name listed in the column below)
Cell C1: Street Address
Cell D1: City

...and so on for state, zip, phone numbers, email, etc...

I have, of course, Googled the issue, yet what I find concerning the Naming of Ranges seems to assume a greater background in Excel than I have.

Please help me as I've never had a professional massage and really, really want it!
posted by sourwookie to Computers & Internet (6 answers total)
Instead of using named ranges, try doing a custom mapping ("map custom fields") of Excel cells to Outlook contact field variables.
posted by Rothko at 9:34 AM on July 5, 2005

Where did the Excel file come from? Anytime I've exported/imported contacts using Outlook, I've saved the file as a .csv (Comma-Separated Values) and have never been asked to name ranges. What it's asking you for is to tell it which data is in which columns. I know how to name a range of cells, but not for this use.
posted by suchatreat at 9:35 AM on July 5, 2005

Never gotten the "named ranges" requirement before but try adding a title for each column in row A and then using custom mapping as Rothko stated.
posted by junesix at 10:46 AM on July 5, 2005

Highlight all the cells you want to import. Click the "A1" in the upper left next to the function bar. Rename it anything. Save.

It should then import okay. At least it did for me last week. It's also in the MS Word help file (2003), That's where I found it last time, so they may be able to explain it better there. Good luck.
posted by karmaville at 10:47 AM on July 5, 2005

A "named range" is simply a group of cells (a rectangle; may be as few as one cell) that is assigned a name. For example, you might list the state abbreviations, alphabetically, in one column (so, 1 cell wide, 50 cells deep) and then name this group of cells "State_abbreviations".

The advantage of named ranges is that when you do things like data validation, you can set things up to validate on "State_abbreviations" rather than on "A1:A50".

Turning to your problem: one alternative may simply be to remove all of the named ranges. (If you do this, make sure that this is a TEMPORARY change - either make the change to a copy of the spreadsheet, or make sure you exit without changes.) You'll find named ranges on the Insert menu, via Name > Define. [One of the bizarre things about Excel is that you make changes to named ranges this way - there is no Edit menu option, for example, where one would logically think to look.] You can then easily delete any/all named ranges that you find. Do take a look at the data after you do this, to see if anything got broken. [If things do get broken, you may need to "lock" the data by using Copy > Paste Special > Values, but that's for another day.]

[Or you could just try the suggestions in prior postings, first.]
posted by WestCoaster at 2:40 PM on July 5, 2005

Karmaville has suggested the easiest answer. You can also do it via Insert->Name->Define. I only mention this because if you ever need to change the cells assigned to the named range, that's where you do it.
posted by pompomtom at 8:14 PM on July 5, 2005

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