Excel glossary

What is a Cell Range

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

In a spreadsheet, a cell 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. That’s different from a mathematical range, in which it is a collection of values between a maximum and a minimum value.

Appearance of a Cell Range

A symmetrical cell range can appear as below. The notation for this range is (A1:C6); from upper left cell A1 to bottom right cell C6.

Example of a symmetrical cell range in Excel // PerfectXL

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).

Example of an irregular cell range in Excel // PerfectXL

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. The notation for the sum of all values in cell range (A1:C6) is =SUM(A1:C6).

Example of a cell range within a formula in Excel // PerfectXL

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.