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Renaming Columns

When you create a new spreadsheet or insert new columns into an existing one, Genstat assigns the columns a default name of C1, C2, etc.

The default column name can be edited in the Tools | Spreadsheet Options Columns tab.

Renaming a column

When you name a column you can also add meaningful information to the column name in the Description field. The description will appear as a separate line under the column name.

To rename a single column
  1. Double-click the column header.
  2. Type a new name for the column, and add a description if desired, then click OK.

To rename several columns
  1. Double-click any column header to open the dialog shown above.
  2. Select a name from the Column dropdown list, type a new name then click Apply.
  3. Repeat step 2 for each column name you want to change then click OK.

Alternatively, from the menu select Spread | Column | Rename. This opens the dialog below, where you can edit each column name and add descriptions then click OK to apply your changes.


The column names are listed in the order they appear in the spreadsheet in the Names column. You can change a name by selecting the name within the column and editing its value.


When the Show descriptions checkbox is selected a second column is displayed in the spreadsheet allowing you to edit the description associated with the column.

OK Make your changes and close the dialog.
Cancel Close the dialog without making any changes.
Copy Copies the contents of the current cell or a selection of cells onto the clipboard.
Paste Paste the contents on the clipboard starting from the current cell.
Find Finds specified text within the names or descriptions.
Replace Find and replace specified text within the names or descriptions. You can search within the names by placing the cursor in the Names column and similarly you can find text within the descriptions when the cursor is within the Descriptions column.
Pointer Automatically rename the columns as a pointer data structure.
Clear Clears the items within the Names or Descriptions columns. To delete the contents of the column either select the column or place the cursor within the column.

Naming conventions

It is good practice to assign your own descriptive names to the columns. A column name must start with a letter or %, and the remaining characters can only be alphanumeric (A-Z, a-z, 0-9), or ‘%’ or ‘_’. If you do use an illegal character in a column name, Genstat will convert these characters to valid ones. For example, if the first character of the column name is a number Genstat will prefix this with %.

Genstat will also display a warning if you start a column name with an underscore ‘_’. Genstat uses hidden structures starting with an underscore for some system variables, so if you use an underscore to start a column name your column will not be displayed in the Data View or in the Available data lists on dialogs.

Changing the case of column names

Capitalization of column names can easily be changed from upper to lower case, or to title case as required.

Note: Case changes are applied to the spreadsheet that currently has focus. To update every sheet in a workbook you must select each sheet individually and change the case.

  1. Select the individual columns you want to change by holding the Ctrl key and clicking the column headers.
    Select nothing. All columns in the spreadsheet will be renamed.
  2. From the menu select Spread | Column | Names | Change Case.
  3. Select an option then click OK.

Updated on August 23, 2019

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