XL97: #NAME? Error After Linking or Updating Data

Article translations Article translations
Article ID: 167379 - View products that this article applies to.
This article was previously published under Q167379
Expand all | Collapse all

On This Page


When you use a natural language formula to reference cells, the result is a #NAME? error.


This problem occurs when the data the formula refers to is returned from either of the following:
  • a link -or-

  • an external database


If a formula that uses a natural language reference returns a #NAME? error after you update data from an external database, do the following to recalculate the formula:
  1. Click the cell that contains the #NAME? error.
  2. Press F2, and then press ENTER.


Microsoft has confirmed this to be a problem in the Microsoft products listed at the beginning of this article.


When you use natural language formulas, it is not necessary to create defined names or determine the cell ranges in advance. Microsoft Excel 97 determines the range based on the row and column labels that you provide in the table on your worksheet.

You can link data to a Microsoft Excel workbook in the following ways:
  • Use a dynamic data exchange (DDE) link from a different program, such as Microsoft Word or Microsoft Powerpoint.
  • Create a link from one workbook to another.
  • Create a linked reference from one cell to another within the same workbook.
In Microsoft Excel, you can access data from an external database in the following ways:

  • Use the Microsoft Query add-in to return data to a worksheet.
  • Create a PivotTable that uses external data.
  • Use the Open Database Connectivity (ODBC) add-in in a macro.


To set up an example that demonstrates the problem, type the following data in a worksheet:
   A1:              B1: Quarter1  C1: Quarter2
   A2: North        B2: 100       C2: 120
   A3: West         B3: 110       C3: 130
   A4: East         B4: 120       C4: 140
   A5: South        B6: 130       C5: 150
In this example, the following formula returns the value 240 for the sum of quarters 1 and 2 for the West region:
   = Sum('West')
However, if your data is linked or from an external data source and you update the data, the formula returns #NAME?. For additional information about using natural language formulas, please see the following article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
161881 XL97: How to Use Natural Language Formulas


For more information about natural language formulas, click the Index tab in Help, type the following text
labels, in formulas
and then double-click the selected text to go to the "Learn about labels and names in formulas" topic.


Article ID: 167379 - Last Review: December 5, 2001 - Revision: 1.0
  • Microsoft Excel 97 Standard Edition
kbprb KB167379
Retired KB Content Disclaimer
This article was written about products for which Microsoft no longer offers support. Therefore, this article is offered "as is" and will no longer be updated.

Give Feedback


Contact us for more help

Contact us for more help
Connect with Answer Desk for expert help.
Get more support from smallbusiness.support.microsoft.com