2.2.2 Worksheet, Column and Cell Range Naming Conventions

This topic discusses naming of Origin worksheets and worksheet columns. Workbook naming is covered in the topic Origin Child Window Naming Conventions.

The workbook window can contain up to 1024 worksheets. With the exception of worksheets that were created with earlier versions of Origin, all worksheets are assigned a default name.

As with Origin child windows, Origin worksheets and worksheet columns have both a Short Name and a Long Name, though the default naming scheme and the rules for naming each object differ.

Origin worksheet naming conventions

Default name: SheetN (Name)

Optional name: user-specified (Label)

Rules for worksheet Names:

  • Must be unique within the workbook.
  • Can contain spaces but cannot begin or end with a space.
  • Can contain numbers and be a number
  • Can contain comma and dot and allow beginning with comma or dot.
  • Can contain special characters but cannot begin with a special character. In addition, the following special characters are not allowed: { } ` | " < > ( ) ! [ ]
  • Limited to 64 characters, including spaces. (If using Chinese or Japanese characters, the limitation is 21 characters.)

You can rename the Origin worksheet by these methods:

  • Double-click on the worksheet tab at the bottom of the sheet and edit the name.
  • Right-click the worksheet tab and select Name and Notes to specify the Name in the Name and Notes dialog.
  • Right-click in the gray area to the right of the worksheet (outside the worksheet but inside the workbook window) and choosing Show Organizer. Select Data Sheets (beneath the workbook name) on the left panel and enter/edit Name in the right panel.

For more information on sheet naming, see FAQ-348 How do I add or edit Name and Comments in the worksheet?

Origin worksheet column naming conventions

Default name: A, B, C, D... (Short Name)

Optional name: user-specified (Long Name)

Rules for worksheet column Short Names:

  • must be unique (within the worksheet).
  • cannot contain special characters (e.g. @, #, %).
  • begins with a letter or number.
  • Short Name is limited to 18 characters, no spaces.

There are several places where you can name worksheet columns in the user-interface:

  • Double-click on the column heading, you open the Column Properties dialog. Enter/edit Short Name, Long Name, Units, and Comments.
  • You can type the Long Name directly in the worksheet header when you double-click in the worksheet header cell.
  • Import a data file and specify that the workbooks, worksheets, and columns be named upon import.

Three things to note about using column Short Names and Long Names:

  • Long Name is optional. If no Long Name is defined, the Short Name is used.
  • If you select Auto update column Short Name to follow Long Name check box (Preferences: Options: Miscellaneous), the column Short Name will track the column Long Name, removing spaces and special characters and truncating the name to 18 characters, if necessary. This check box is unchecked by default.
  • Dialog box and Status Bar references to the selected data range will use Long Names, provided that (1) a Long Name exists and (2) you have selected Use Long Names when available (Preferences: Options: Miscellaneous). If either condition is not met, Short Names are used.

References to workbook data

When graphing or analysis operations are performed, data are selected or identified using a standard syntax that, in its most general form, combines the workbook name, the worksheet name and the worksheet cell range.


Note that BookName may be the Long Name or the Short Name. When multiple columns of data share a common Long Name, the left-most column of data is operated upon. Also, note that the cell range may be a single cell, a portion of a row or column, or a group of cells (either contiguous or non-contiguous). This syntax is used when actively referring to a data range (as at the command line in the Command Window) or when Origin reports range selections to the user-interface (as in the Plot Details dialog box or the Data List).

Note: Passive references to the selected data range (as in the Plot Details dialog box, for instance) will use Long Names, assuming (1) they have been defined and (2) you have selected Use Long Names when available in the Options dialog box (Preferences: Options: Miscellaneous). Otherwise, Short Names are used.

Adding more than 255 sheets requires saving project as OPJU (available in Origin 2018 SR0 and later).