The VBA Range Object
The Excel Range Object is an object in Excel VBA that represents a cell, row, column, a selection of cells or a 3 dimensional range. The Excel Range is also a Worksheet property that returns a subset of its cells.
The Range is a Worksheet property which allows you to select any subset of cells, rows, columns etc. You can use the Range property to:
- Obtain a reference to a single Worksheet Cell:
- Obtain a range of cells using a string:
- Obtain a range of cells using other Range objects:
The Range.Activate function makes the range visible
Working with Range variables
The Range is a separate object variable and can be declared as other variables:
Dim myRange as Range
Excel facilitates a Range function that allows you to obtain cells from within the ActiveSheet, current top-most worksheet.
Range("A1").Select '...is the same as... ActiveSheet.Range("A1").Select
The Range object contains a variety of properties with the main one being it’s Value and an the second one being its Formula.
A Range Value is the evaluated property of a cell or a range of cells. For example a cell with the formula
=10+10 has an evaluated value of
A Range Formula is the formula provided in the cell or range of cells. For example a cell with a formula of
=10+10 will have the same Formula property.
Other Range properties include:
Work in progress
A Worksheet Cells property is similar to the Range property but allows you to obtain only a SINGLE CELL, based on its row and column index. Numbering starts at 1:
The Cells property is in fact a Range object not a separate data type.
Excel facilitates a Cells function that allows you to obtain a cell from within the ActiveSheet, current top-most worksheet.
Cells(2,2).Select 'Selects B2 '...is the same as... ActiveSheet.Cells(2,2).Select 'Select B2
Cells are Ranges which means they are not a separate data type:
Dim myRange as Range Set myRange = Cells(1,1) 'Cell A1
Range Rows and Columns
As we all know an Excel Worksheet is divided into Rows and Columns. The Excel VBA Range object allows you to select single or multiple rows as well as single or multiple columns. There are a couple of ways to obtain Worksheet rows in VBA:
Getting an entire row or column
To get and entire row of a specified Range you need to use the EntireRow property. Although, the function’s parameters suggest taking both a RowIndex and ColumnIndex it is enough just to provide the row number. Row indexing starts at 1.
To get and entire column of a specified Range you need to use the EntireColumn property. Although, the function’s parameters suggest taking both a RowIndex and ColumnIndex it is enough just to provide the column number. Column indexing starts at 1.
Range("B2").EntireRows(1).Hidden = True 'Gets and hides the entire row 2 Range("B2").EntireColumns(1).Hidden = True 'Gets and hides the entire column 2
Get a row/column of a specified range
If you want to get a certain row within a Range simply use the Rows property of the Worksheet. Although, the function’s parameters suggest taking both a RowIndex and ColumnIndex it is enough just to provide the row number. Row indexing starts at 1.
Similarly you can use the Columns function to obtain any single column within a Range. Although, the function’s parameters suggest taking both a RowIndex and ColumnIndex actually the first argument you provide will be the column index. Column indexing starts at 1.
Rows(1).Hidden = True 'Hides the first row in the ActiveSheet 'same as ActiveSheet.Rows(1).Hidden = True Columns(1).Hidden = True 'Hides the first column in the ActiveSheet 'same as ActiveSheet.Columns(1).Hidden = True
To get a range of rows/columns you need to use the Range function like so:
Range(Rows(1), Rows(3)).Hidden = True 'Hides rows 1:3 'same as Range("1:3").Hidden = "True 'same as ActiveSheet.Range("1:3").Hidden = "True Range(Columns(1), Columns(3)).Hidden = True 'Hides columns A:C 'same as Range("A:C").Hidden = "True 'same as ActiveSheet.Range("A:C").Hidden = "True
Get row/column of specified range
The above approach assumed you want to obtain only rows/columns from the ActiveSheet – the visible and top-most Worksheet. Usually however, you will want to obtain rows or columns of an existing Range. Similarly as with the Worksheet Range property, any Range facilitates the Rows and Columns property.
Dim myRange as Range Set myRange = Range("A1:C3") myRange.Rows.Hidden = True 'Hides rows 1:3 myRange.Columns.Hidden = True 'Hides columns A:C Set myRange = Range("C10:F20") myRange.Rows(2).Hidden = True 'Hides rows 11 myRange.Columns(3).Hidden = True 'Hides columns E
Getting a Ranges first row/column number
Aside from the Rows and Columns properties Ranges also facilitate a Row and Column property which provide you with the number of the Ranges first row and column.
Set myRange = Range("C10:F20") 'Get first row number Debug.Print myRange.Row 'Result: 10 'Get first column number Debug.Print myRange.Column 'Result: 3
Converting Column number to Excel Column
This is an often question that turns up – how to convert a column number to a string e.g. 100 to “CV”.
Function GetExcelColumn(columnNumber As Long) Dim div As Long, colName As String, modulo As Long div = columnNumber: colName = vbNullString Do While div > 0 modulo = (div - 1) Mod 26 colName = Chr(65 + modulo) & colName div = ((div - modulo) / 26) Loop GetExcelColumn = colName End Function
Cutting and pasting rows is generally a bad practice which I heavily discourage as this is a practice that is moments can be heavily cpu-intensive and often is unaccounted for.
The Copy function works on a single cell, subset of cell or subset of rows/columns.
'Copy values and formatting from cell A1 to cell D1 Range("A1").Copy Range("D1") 'Copy 3x3 A1:C3 matrix to D1:F3 matrix - dimension must be same Range("A1:C3").Copy Range("D1:F3") 'Copy rows 1:3 to rows 4:6 Range("A1:A3").EntireRow.Copy Range("A4") 'Copy columns A:C to columns D:F Range("A1:C1").EntireColumn.Copy Range("D1")
The Copy function can also be executed without an argument. It then copies the Range to the Windows Clipboard for later Pasting.
The Cut function, similarly as the Copy function, cuts single cells, ranges of cells or rows/columns.
'Cut A1 cell and paste it to D1 Range("A1").Cut Range("D1") 'Cut 3x3 A1:C3 matrix and paste it in D1:F3 matrix - dimension must be same Range("A1:C3").Cut Range("D1:F3") 'Cut rows 1:3 and paste to rows 4:6 Range("A1:A3").EntireRow.Cut Range("A4") 'Cut columns A:C and paste to columns D:F Range("A1:C1").EntireColumn.Cut Range("D1")
The Cut function can be executed without arguments. It will then cut the contents of the Range and copy it to the Windows Clipboard for pasting.
The Range PasteSpecial function works only when preceded with either the Copy or Cut Range functions. It pastes the Range (or other data) within the Clipboard to the Range on which it was executed.
The PasteSpecial function has the following syntax:
PasteSpecial( Paste, Operation, SkipBlanks, Transpose)
The part of the Range which is to be pasted. This parameter can have the following values:
|xlPasteSpecialOperationAdd||2||Copied data will be added with the value in the destination cell.|
|xlPasteSpecialOperationDivide||5||Copied data will be divided with the value in the destination cell.|
|xlPasteSpecialOperationMultiply||4||Copied data will be multiplied with the value in the destination cell.|
|xlPasteSpecialOperationNone||-4142||No calculation will be done in the paste operation.|
|xlPasteSpecialOperationSubtract||3||Copied data will be subtracted with the value in the destination cell.|
The paste operation e.g. paste all, only formatting, only values, etc. This can have one of the following values:
|xlPasteAll||-4104||Everything will be pasted.|
|xlPasteAllExceptBorders||7||Everything except borders will be pasted.||xlPasteAllMergingConditionalFormats||14||Everything will be pasted and conditional formats will be merged.|
|xlPasteAllUsingSourceTheme||13||Everything will be pasted using the source theme.|
|xlPasteColumnWidths||8||Copied column width is pasted.|
|xlPasteComments||-4144||Comments are pasted.|
|xlPasteFormats||-4122||Copied source format is pasted.|
|xlPasteFormulas||-4123||Formulas are pasted.|
|xlPasteFormulasAndNumberFormats||11||Formulas and Number formats are pasted.|
|xlPasteValidation||6||Validations are pasted.|
|xlPasteValues||-4163||Values are pasted.|
|xlPasteValuesAndNumberFormats||12||Values and Number formats are pasted.|
If True then blanks will not be pasted.
Transpose the Range before paste (swap rows with columns).
'Cut A1 cell and paste its values to D1 Range("A1").Copy Range("D1").PasteSpecial 'Copy 3x3 A1:C3 matrix and add all the values to E1:G3 matrix (dimension must be same) Range("A1:C3").Copy Range("E1:G3").PasteSpecial xlPasteValues, xlPasteSpecialOperationAdd
Below an example where the Excel Range A1:C3 values are copied an added to the E1:G3 Range. You can also multiply, divide and run other similar operations.
The Paste function allows you to paste data in the Clipboard to the actively selected Range. Cutting and Pasting can only be accomplished with the Paste function.
'Cut A1 cell and paste its values to D1 Range("A1").Cut Range("D1").Select ActiveSheet.Paste 'Cut 3x3 A1:C3 matrix and paste it in D1:F3 matrix - dimension must be same Range("A1:C3").Cut Range("D1:F3").Select ActiveSheet.Paste 'Cut rows 1:3 and paste to rows 4:6 Range("A1:A3").EntireRow.Cut Range("A4").Select ActiveSheet.Paste 'Cut columns A:C and paste to columns D:F Range("A1:C1").EntireColumn.Cut Range("D1").Select ActiveSheet.Paste
The Clear function
The Clear function clears the entire content and formatting from an Excel Range. It does not, however, shift (delete) the cleared cells.
The Delete function
The Delete function deletes a Range of cells, removing them entirely from the Worksheet, and shifts the remaining Cells in a selected shift direction.
Although the manual Delete cell function provides 4 ways of shifting cells. The VBA Delete Shift values can only be either be xlShiftToLeft or xlShiftUp.
'If Shift omitted, Excel decides - shift up in this case Range("B2").Delete 'Delete and Shift remaining cells left Range("B2").Delete xlShiftToLeft 'Delete and Shift remaining cells up Range("B2").Delete xlShiftTop 'Delete entire row 2 and shift up Range("B2").EntireRow.Delete 'Delete entire column B and shift left Range("B2").EntireRow.Delete
Traversing cells is really useful when you want to run an operation on each cell within an Excel Range. Fortunately this is easily achieved in VBA using the For Each or For loops.
Dim cellRange As Range For Each cellRange In Range("A1:C3") Debug.Print cellRange.Value Next cellRange
Traversing the UsedRange
Every Worksheet has a UsedRange. This represents that smallest rectangle Range that contains all cells that have or had at some point values. In other words if the further out in the bottom, right-corner of the Worksheet there is a certain cell (e.g. E8) then the UsedRange will be as large as to include that cell starting at cell A1 (e.g. A1:E8). In Excel you can check the current UsedRange hitting CTRL+END. In VBA you get the UsedRange like this:
ActiveSheet.UsedRange 'same as UsedRange
You can traverse through the UsedRange like this:
Dim cellRange As Range For Each cellRange In UsedRange Debug.Print "Row: " & cellRange.Row & ", Column: " & cellRange.Column Next cellRange
The Excel Range Address property provides a string value representing the Address of the Range.
Below the syntax of the Excel Range Address property:
Address( [RowAbsolute], [ColumnAbsolute], [ReferenceStyle], [External], [RelativeTo] )
Optional. If True returns the row part of the reference address as an absolute reference. By default this is True.
$D$10:$G$100 'RowAbsolute is set to True $D10:$G100 'RowAbsolute is set to False
Optional. If True returns the column part of the reference as an absolute reference. By default this is True.
$D$10:$G$100 'ColumnAbsolute is set to True D$10:G$100 'ColumnAbsolute is set to False
Optional. The reference style. The default value is xlA1. Possible values:
|xlA1||1||Default. Use xlA1 to return an A1-style reference|
|xlR1C1||-4150||Use xlR1C1 to return an R1C1-style reference|
Optional. If True then property will return an external reference address, otherwise a local reference address will be returned. By default this is False.
$A$1 'Local [Book1.xlsb]Sheet1!$A$1 'External
Provided RowAbsolute and ColumnAbsolute are set to False, and the ReferenceStyle is set to xlR1C1, then you must include a starting point for the relative reference. This must be a Range variable to be set as the reference point.
Merged cells are Ranges that consist of 2 or more adjacent cells. To Merge a collection of adjacent cells run Merge function on that Range.
The Merge has only a single parameter – Across, a boolean which if True will merge cells in each row of the specified range as separate merged cells. Otherwise the whole Range will be merged. The default value is False.
To merge the entire Range:
'This will turn of any alerts warning that values may be lost Application.DisplayAlerts = False Range("B2:C3").Merge
This will result in the following:
To merge just the rows set Across to True.
'This will turn of any alerts warning that values may be lost Application.DisplayAlerts = False Range("B2:C3").Merge True
This will result in the following:
Checking if Range is merged
To check if a certain Range is merged simply use the Excel Range MergeCells property:
Range("B2:C3").Merge Debug.Print Range("B2").MergeCells 'Result: True
The MergeArea is a property of an Excel Range that represent the whole merge Range associated with the current Range. Say that $B$2:$C$3 is a merged Range – each cell within that Range (e.g. B2, C3..) will have the exact same MergedArea. See example below:
Range("B2:C3").Merge Debug.Print Range("B2").MergeArea.Address 'Result: $B$2:$C$3
Named Ranges are Ranges associated with a certain Name (string). In Excel you can find all your Named Ranges by going to Formulas->Name Manager. They are very useful when working on certain values that are used frequently through out your Workbook. Imagine that you are writing a Financial Analysis and want to use a common Discount Rate across all formulas. Just the address of the cell e.g. “A2”, won’t be self-explanatory. Why not use e.g. “DiscountRate” instead? Well you can do just that.
Creating a Named Range
Named Ranges can be created either within the scope of a Workbook or Worksheet:
Dim r as Range 'Within Workbook Set r = ActiveWorkbook.Names.Add("NewName", Range("A1")) 'Within Worksheet Set r = ActiveSheet.Names.Add("NewName", Range("A1"))
This gives you flexibility to use similar names across multiple Worksheets or use a single global name across the entire Workbook.
Listing all Named Ranges
You can list all Named Ranges using the Name Excel data type. Names are objects that represent a single NamedRange. See an example below of listing our two newly created NamedRanges:
Call ActiveWorkbook.Names.Add("NewName", Range("A1")) Call ActiveSheet.Names.Add("NewName", Range("A1")) Dim n As Name For Each n In ActiveWorkbook.Names Debug.Print "Name: " & n.Name & ", Address: " & _ n.RefersToRange.Address & ", Value: "; n.RefersToRange.Value Next n 'Result: 'Name: Sheet1!NewName, Address: $A$1, Value: 1 'Name: NewName, Address: $A$1, Value: 1
SpecialCells are a very useful Excel Range property, that allows you to select a subset of cells/Ranges within a certain Range.
The SpecialCells property has the following syntax:
SpecialCells( Type, [Value] )
The type of cells to be returned. Possible values:
|xlCellTypeAllFormatConditions||-4172||Cells of any format|
|xlCellTypeAllValidation||-4174||Cells having validation criteria|
|xlCellTypeComments||-4144||Cells containing notes|
|xlCellTypeConstants||2||Cells containing constants|
|xlCellTypeFormulas||-4123||Cells containing formulas|
|xlCellTypeLastCell||11||The last cell in the used range|
|xlCellTypeSameFormatConditions||-4173||Cells having the same format|
|xlCellTypeSameValidation||-4175||Cells having the same validation criteria|
|xlCellTypeVisible||12||All visible cells|
If Type is equal to xlCellTypeConstants or xlCellTypeFormulas this determines the types of cells to return e.g. with errors.
Get Excel Range with Constants
This will return only cells with constant cells within the Range C1:C3:
For Each r In Range("A1:C3").SpecialCells(xlCellTypeConstants) Debug.Print r.Value Next r
Search for Excel Range with Errors
For Each r In ActiveSheet.UsedRange.SpecialCells(xlCellTypeFormulas, xlErrors) Debug.Print r.Address Next r