What is a Cell Range

A cell range is a collection of selected cells in a spreadsheet. This cell range is usually symmetrical (square), but can exist of separate cells just the same. A cell range can be referred to in a formula.

Mathematically, a range is the collection of values between a maximum and a minimum value. In Excel, a range is defined by the reference of the upper left cell (minimum value) of the range and the reference of the lower right cell (maximum value) of the range. Eventually separate cells can be added to this selection, then the range is called an irregular cell range. In Excel, the minimum and maximum value are included. 

Appearance of a Cell Range

A symmetrical cell range can appear as below. The notation for this range is (A1:C6).

What is a Cell Range :: Excel Glossary :: PerfectXL Spreadsheet Validation Tool

Irregular Cell Ranges

Irregular cell ranges, like in the image below, also occur. The notation for this range is (A1:C6;E2;E6;C7;C9).

What is an Irregular Cell Range :: Excel Glossary :: PerfectXL Spreadsheet Validation Tool

A Cell Range Within a Formula

A cell range can be used inside a formula, for example to calculate the sum of the values within the selected cells: =SUM(A1:C6).

Cell Range in a Formula :: Excel Glossary :: PerfectXL Spreadsheet Validation Tool

Range Issues

Larger spreadsheets are usually stuffed with formulas based on cell ranges. When spreadsheets are edited or expanded over time, different types of range issues may occur. These issues are usually hard to detect, but they can be very risky! We’ve seen big numbers and large sums of money ‘disappear’ because of range issues.

PerfectXL detects different types of range issues, like references to empty cells, interrupted formula ranges, merged cells, references to merged cells, unexpected ranges and ranges in which unexpected shifts occur.

Read more about the detection of range issues

Try PerfectXL Now


PerfectXL add-in

The PerfectXL Add-In is an Excel based tool which works directly in your own spreadsheets. The tool has a variety of effective functions which detect risks, validate financial models, and improve your excel experience.

And it’s free for private use!


About PerfectXL

PerfectXL provides full automatic clarity about all risks, mistakes and other problems in your spreadsheets, plus an extensive improvement plan. You don’t have to be an expert yourself and you don’t need much time to fix your file.

Learn about the features


Don’t Merge Cells

It is so tempting! Merge cells in Excel so they form a header above two or more columns. Yes, it looks nice but resist the temptation because it can be dangerous.
Do not merge cells

Subscribe to our Excel Guidelines