Name Tags in Minecraft: Everything You Need to Know [2024]

Key Takeaways
  • A name tag is an item used to assign a name to most NPC characters, preventing them from despawning. It can't be used on players or the Ender Dragon.
  • Name tags can't be crafted; they are found in chest drops, obtained through fishing, or traded from a Master Librarian for 20 emeralds.
  • To use a name tag, you must first name it using an anvil and one experience point. Then, apply it to an NPC to display the chosen name above their head.

Over the course of your Minecraft adventures, you’ll find yourself getting attached to some of the NPCs. These could be anybody; villagers, Piglins, animals etc. You may find yourself referring to them by a name. If you want to assign that name to them, you’re going to need a name tag. What’s that and where can you get one? Read on below!

What is a Name Tag?

A name tag is an item that can be used to assign a name to nearly any mob NPC character in Minecraft. They are not applicable on other players and the Ender Dragon. Name tags are stackable, and can be reused too, if you want to change the name. Name tags are rare so make sure to use them wisely.

READ MORE: Minecraft Guide – How To Respawn Ender Dragon ➜

Effects of Using a Name Tag

Using a name tag causes the NPC to never despawn. They will remain in the world and the same region, even when you wander about the world. In the case of wandering merchants, while they will retain their name, they will continue to disappear after you return to the area you found them after some time. The named NPCs can still die, however, and your name tag will not be recovered if they do.

Naming your favorite animals is a great feature | NiclasBlocko’s Minecraft

Where To Find a Name Tag

The reason name tags are so rare is because they cannot be crafted. Because of this, you have to explore the world and hunt for name tags. There are only 3 ways of getting a name tag:

  1. Chest Drops
  2. Fishing
  3. Trading

1. Chest Drops

Hunting for name tags in a chest means long journeys | NiclasBlocko’s Minecraft

Chests found in various locations have a decent chance of dropping a name tag. Each chest drops exactly 1 name tag. However, these chances vary between the Java and Bedrock Editions of Minecraft. Here is a table showing where to find chests that have a chance of dropping a name tag in the Java Edition:

LocationChances of Dropping a Name Tag
Ancient City16.1%
Woodland Mansion28.3%
Chances of receiving a name tag from a chest drop at different locations in Minecraft: Java Edition

Similarly, here’s a table showing where to find chests that have a chance of dropping a name tag in Bedrock Edition:

LocationChances of Dropping a Name Tag
Ancient City16.1%
Woodland Mansion27.9%
Buried Treasure34.3%
Chances of receiving a name tag from a chest drop at different locations in Minecraft: Bedrock Edition

2. Fishing

If you don’t want to stray too far from your location, you can settle for fishing. Since fishing can be done on nearly any body of water, you won’t have wander too far. However, you must be prepared to spend a considerable amount of time here, as there’s a very minor chance of obtaining a name tag by fishing.

Fishing for name tags will be a long wait | NiclasBlocko’s Minecraft

Name tags are categorized into the Treasure category. Treasure items have a 5% chance of being caught. And since name tags are not the only Treasure item, you only have 0.167% chance of getting one from fishing, that is after managing to get pass the 5% chance of obtaining a Treasure item. We recommend using the Luck of the Sea enchantment to increase your chances of catching Treasure items.

3. Trading

Trading is the last, and most expensive option on this list. In case you’ve got spare emeralds, you can trade a name tag from a Master Librarian in a village for 20 emeralds. While this is by far the mostly costly option, it is also the simplest one.

Trading is the easiest and most expensive option | NiclasBlocko’s Minecraft

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How To Use a Name Tag in Minecraft

Using a name tag isn’t just clicking on a NPC and an “insert name” box appears. In order to use a name tag, you have to first assign a name to it and then use it on a NPC.

1. Assigning a name to the name tag

To enter a name on the name tag, you’ll need an anvil. An anvil can be found commonly in villages, but it can also be crafted with a simple recipe using a Crafting Table. To craft an anvil, you’ll need 6 iron blocks and 1 iron ingot, as shown in the recipe below.

After crafting the anvil follow the steps below to assign a name to a name tag:

  1. Open up the anvil menu.
  2. Place the name tag in the left-most slot.
  3. Enter the name you want to give the NPC to in the text box on the top of the menu. You’ll need 1 experience point to complete the process.
  4. Once done, place the name tag back in your inventory.
Place the name tag in the left-most slot and enter the name you want to assign your NPC in the text box | NiclasBlocko’s Minecraft

2. Using the name tag on an NPC

With your new name tag, follow these steps to assign it to your favorite NPC:

  1. Equip the name tag in your hand.
  2. Use it on the NPC.
  3. The name you entered earlier should be displayed on top of the NPC.
The name you entered in the name tag should display above the head of the NPC you used it on | NiclasBlocko’s Minecraft

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Unique Effects of Name Tags

In some cases, name tags can apply unique effects on a specific or any NPC depending on the name that you enter. Here are the unique effects applied by name tags:

NameNPC To Be Applied OnEffect
All NPCs on whom name tag is applicableRenders the character upside-down
jeb_SheepThe wool of the sheep cycles between rainbow colors. However, if sheared, the wool dropped will have the original color prior to naming the sheep.
ToastRabbitChanges the rabbit’s fur to a mixture of black and white. This is an Easter egg to a Reddit user’s request to add their rabbit in the game.
JohnnyVindicatorCauses the vindicator to become hostile towards all other NPCs (except other illagers and ghasts). In Java Edition, the vindicator will even attack a ravager.
Unique names and their effects on NPCs
The pig’s model turned upside down when named “Grumm” | The Android Miner

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Name tags are something that solely exist to make your Minecraft experience more enjoyable and fun. They are not a necessity in any case, and since you cannot craft them, they are a bit difficult to obtain. Therefore, there’s no need to force yourself to get one. Feel free to get one after you’ve reached the endgame or have completed the game.


What are name tags?

Name tags are items that allow you to assign a name to all mob NPCs, except the Ender Dragon. They prevent the NPC from despawning (except traveler merchants) and are stackable.

Where can I get name tags?

Name tags cannot be crafted and the 3 ways of obtaining them are as chest drops, as Treasure while fishing, and trading one for 20 emeralds from a Master Librarian.

Can I use a name tag directly?

No, you must first assign a name to the name tag using an anvil and 1 experience point. After that, you may use the name tag on a NPC.


Farhan Ali

Farhan is a passionate writer with an undying love for games, PC hardware, and technology. With nearly 5 years of experience in blogging and over 14 years of experience in gaming, this is what he loves and does best.