Range Object (Excel)

Represents a cell, a row, a column, a selection of cells containing one or more contiguous blocks of cells, or a 3-D range.


The following properties and methods for returning a Range object are described in the examples section:


Use Range(arg), where arg names the range, to return a Range object that represents a single cell or a range of cells. The following example places the value of cell A1 in cell A5.

Worksheets("Sheet1").Range("A5").Value = _ 

The following example fills the range A1:H8 with random numbers by setting the formula for each cell in the range. When it’s used without an object qualifier (an object to the left of the period), the Range property returns a range on the active sheet. If the active sheet isn’t a worksheet, the method fails. Use the Activate method to activate a worksheet before you use the Range property without an explicit object qualifier.

Range("A1:H8").Formula = "=Rand()"    'Range is on the active sheet

The following example clears the contents of the range named Criteria.


If you use a text argument for the range address, you must specify the address in A1-style notation (you cannot use R1C1-style notation).


Use Cells(row, column) where row is the row index and column is the column index, to return a single cell. The following example sets the value of cell A1 to 24.

Worksheets(1).Cells(1, 1).Value = 24

The following example sets the formula for cell A2.

ActiveSheet.Cells(2, 1).Formula = "=Sum(B1:B5)"

Although you can also use Range("A1") to return cell A1, there may be times when the Cells property is more convenient because you can use a variable for the row or column. The following example creates column and row headings on Sheet1. Be aware that after the worksheet has been activated, the Cells property can be used without an explicit sheet declaration (it returns a cell on the active sheet).


Although you could use Visual Basic string functions to alter A1-style references, it is easier (and better programming practice) to use the Cells(1, 1) notation.

Sub SetUpTable() 
For TheYear = 1 To 5 
    Cells(1, TheYear + 1).Value = 1990 + TheYear 
Next TheYear 
For TheQuarter = 1 To 4 
    Cells(TheQuarter + 1, 1).Value = "Q" & TheQuarter 
Next TheQuarter 
End Sub

Use expression.Cells(row, column), where expression is an expression that returns a Range object, and row and column are relative to the upper-left corner of the range, to return part of a range. The following example sets the formula for cell C5.

Worksheets(1).Range("C5:C10").Cells(1, 1).Formula = "=Rand()"

Use Range(cell1, cell2), where cell1 and cell2 are Range objects that specify the start and end cells, to return a Range object. The following example sets the border line style for cells A1:J10.


Be aware that the period in front of each occurrence of the Cells property. The period is required if the result of the preceding With statement is to be applied to the Cells property—in this case, to indicate that the cells are on worksheet one (without the period, the Cells property would return cells on the active sheet).

With Worksheets(1) 
    .Range(.Cells(1, 1), _ 
        .Cells(10, 10)).Borders.LineStyle = xlThick 
End With

Use Offset(row, column), where row and column are the row and column offsets, to return a range at a specified offset to another range. The following example selects the cell three rows down from and one column to the right of the cell in the upper-left corner of the current selection. You cannot select a cell that is not on the active sheet, so you must first activate the worksheet.

  'Can't select unless the sheet is active 
Selection.Offset(3, 1).Range("A1").Select

Use Union(range1, range2, ...) to return multiple-area ranges—that is, ranges composed of two or more contiguous blocks of cells. The following example creates an object defined as the union of ranges A1:B2 and C3:D4, and then selects the defined range.

Dim r1 As Range, r2 As Range, myMultiAreaRange As Range 
Set r1 = Range("A1:B2") 
Set r2 = Range("C3:D4") 
Set myMultiAreaRange = Union(r1, r2) 

If you work with selections that contain more than one area, the Areas property is useful. It divides a multiple-area selection into individual Range objects and then returns the objects as a collection. You can use the Count property on the returned collection to verify a selection that contains more than one area, as shown in the following example.

Sub NoMultiAreaSelection() 
    NumberOfSelectedAreas = Selection.Areas.Count 
    If NumberOfSelectedAreas > 1 Then 
        MsgBox "You cannot carry out this command " & _ 
            "on multi-area selections" 
    End If 
End Sub

Sample code provided by: MVP Contributor Dennis Wallentin, VSTO & .NET & Excel | About the Contributor

This example uses the AdvancedFilter method of the Range object to create a list of the unique values, and the number of times those unique values occur, in the range of column A.

Sub Create_Unique_List_Count()
    'Excel workbook, the source and target worksheets, and the source and target ranges.
    Dim wbBook As Workbook
    Dim wsSource As Worksheet
    Dim wsTarget As Worksheet
    Dim rnSource As Range
    Dim rnTarget As Range
    Dim rnUnique As Range
    'Variant to hold the unique data
    Dim vaUnique As Variant
    'Number of unique values in the data
    Dim lnCount As Long
    'Initialize the Excel objects
    Set wbBook = ThisWorkbook
    With wbBook
        Set wsSource = .Worksheets("Sheet1")
        Set wsTarget = .Worksheets("Sheet2")
    End With
    'On the source worksheet, set the range to the data stored in column A
    With wsSource
        Set rnSource = .Range(.Range("A1"), .Range("A100").End(xlUp))
    End With
    'On the target worksheet, set the range as column A.
    Set rnTarget = wsTarget.Range("A1")
    'Use AdvancedFilter to copy the data from the source to the target,
    'while filtering for duplicate values.
    rnSource.AdvancedFilter Action:=xlFilterCopy, _
                            CopyToRange:=rnTarget, _
    'On the target worksheet, set the unique range on Column A, excluding the first cell
    '(which will contain the "List" header for the column).
    With wsTarget
        Set rnUnique = .Range(.Range("A2"), .Range("A100").End(xlUp))
    End With
    'Assign all the values of the Unique range into the Unique variant.
    vaUnique = rnUnique.Value
    'Count the number of occurrences of every unique value in the source data,
    'and list it next to its relevant value.
    For lnCount = 1 To UBound(vaUnique)
        rnUnique(lnCount, 1).Offset(0, 1).Value = _
            Application.Evaluate("COUNTIF(" & _
            rnSource.Address(External:=True) & _
            ",""" & rnUnique(lnCount, 1).Text & """)")
    Next lnCount
    'Label the column of occurrences with "Occurrences"
    With rnTarget.Offset(0, 1)
        .Value = "Occurrences"
        .Font.Bold = True
    End With

End Sub

About the Contributor

Dennis Wallentin is the author of VSTO & .NET & Excel, a blog that focuses on .NET Framework solutions for Excel and Excel Services. Dennis has been developing Excel solutions for over 20 years and is also the co-author of “Professional Excel Development: The Definitive Guide to Developing Applications Using Microsoft Excel, VBA and .NET (2nd Edition)."