Using Very Long Worksheet Tab Names

John has a need to use some very long worksheet tab names. Excel, however, seems to limit those names to only 30 characters, so he wonders if there is a way to exceed that limit.

The short answer is no, you cannot change the limit on worksheet name length. It is hard-coded into Excel at 31 characters. There are a few workarounds, though, some obvious and some perhaps not so obvious: use abbreviations for words in the names, devise a code-number system that ties to a longer name listed in a worksheet, etc.

You could also utilize tab color into your “naming.” For instance, if a department name is used commonly as part of a worksheet tab name, you could use colors to designate different departments and then drop the actual department name from the longer worksheet name.

Finally, you may find it beneficial to split your worksheets into different workbooks. You could make the longer, common portion of each worksheet name the workbook name. For instance, suppose you had the following worksheet names you wanted to use:

Sacramento Development Facility Budget January 2014
Sacramento Development Facility Budget February 2014
Sacramento Development Facility Budget March 2014
Sacramento Development Facility Budget April 2014
Sacramento Production Facility Budget January 2014
Sacramento Production Facility Budget February 2014
Sacramento Production Facility Budget March 2014
Sacramento Production Facility Budget April 2014

These names are obviously longer than the 31-character limit. If you didn’t want to use abbreviations, you could create two workbooks-Sacramento Development Facility and Sacramento Production Facility-and then use the following worksheets in each workbook:

Budget January 2014
Budget February 2014
Budget March 2014
Budget April 2014

You could even take the technique a step further by appending the word “Budget” to each workbook name and dropping it from the individual worksheet names.