Changing Months in a Workbook

It is not unusual to keep track of monthly information, of one sort or another, in a workbook. You might be tracking expenses, sales, inventory movements, stock prices, or any of a thousand other things. When you start a new month, you may make a copy of the previous month’s workbook and then look for a way to make changes to the month name that appears in various places in the newly created copy.

If the month name you want to change is stored as text within various worksheets, you can use Excel’s find and replace feature to make the changes. Just follow these steps:

  1. Click on the tab of the first worksheet in which you want to make changes.
  2. Hold down the Shift key as you click on the tab of the last worksheet in which you want to make changes. All of the worksheets you want to change should now be selected.
  3. Press Ctrl+H to display the Replace tab of the Find and Replace dialog box.
  4. In the Find What box, enter the old month’s name.
  5. In the Replace With box, enter the new month’s name.
  6. Click on Replace All.
  7. Close the Find and Replace dialog box.

If these steps do not change a particular month name as it appears in your workbook, it could be because the month name is not actually text, but a date value formatted to show only the month. In that case, you cannot use Find and Replace; instead you must simply change the date value stored in the cell.

If you want a quick way to change the month names in the worksheet tabs, that is a bit trickier. Excel’s find and replace feature won’t find or replace the text in tab names. Normally they need to be done by hand, but if you have many of them, you may want to create a macro that will do the changing for you. The following macro prompts you for the text you are searching for and the text you want to replace it with. Then, it steps through each worksheet tab and makes the changes for you.

Sub TabReplace()
    Dim I As Integer, J As Integer
    Dim sFind As String
    Dim sReplace As String
    Dim sTemp As String

    sFind = InputBox("Text to find?")
    sReplace = InputBox("Replace it with?")

    If (sFind & sReplace) = "" Then Exit Sub

    For I = 1 To Sheets.Count
        sTemp = Sheets(I).Name
        J = InStr(sTemp, sFind)
        While J > 0
            sTemp = Left(sTemp, J - 1) & sReplace _
              & Mid(sTemp, (J + Len(sFind)))
            J = InStr(sTemp, sFind)
        Wend

        If sTemp  Sheets(I).Name Then
            Sheets(I).Name = sTemp
        End If
    Next I
End Sub

Even though the steps (and macro) presented here can make the job of updating your workbook easier, it may be easier still to simply rethink how you do your workbook. It may be easier to set up a cell to contain the current month’s name, and then reference that name in the appropriate cells throughout the workbook. Then, all you need to do is change the month name in a single cell, and it will be changed elsewhere, automatically. In other ExcelTips you even learned how you can dynamically change a tab name based on the contents of a particular cell.