Work with multiple ranges simultaneously in Excel add-ins

The Excel JavaScript library enables your add-in to perform operations, and set properties, on multiple ranges simultaneously. The ranges do not have to be contiguous. In addition to making your code simpler, this way of setting a property runs much faster than setting the same property individually for each of the ranges.


A set of (possibly discontiguous) ranges is represented by a RangeAreas object. It has properties and methods similar to the Range type (many with the same, or similar, names), but adjustments have been made to:

  • The data types for properties and the behavior of the setters and getters.
  • The data types of method parameters and the method behaviors.
  • The data types of method return values.

Some examples:

  • RangeAreas has an address property that returns a comma-delimited string of range addresses, instead of just one address as with the Range.address property.
  • RangeAreas has a dataValidation property that returns a DataValidation object that represents the data validation of all the ranges in the RangeAreas, if it is consistent. The property is null if identical DataValidation objects are not applied to all the all the ranges in the RangeAreas. This is a general, but not universal, principle with the RangeAreas object: If a property does not have consistent values on all the all the ranges in the RangeAreas, then it is null. See Read properties of RangeAreas for more information and some exceptions.
  • RangeAreas.cellCount gets the total number of cells in all the ranges in the RangeAreas.
  • RangeAreas.calculate recalculates the cells of all the ranges in the RangeAreas.
  • RangeAreas.getEntireColumn and RangeAreas.getEntireRow return another RangeAreas object that represents all of the columns (or rows) in all the ranges in the RangeAreas. For example, if the RangeAreas represents "A1:C4" and "F14:L15", then RangeAreas.getEntireColumn returns a RangeAreas object that represents "A:C" and "F:L".
  • RangeAreas.copyFrom can take either a Range or a RangeAreas parameter representing the source range(s) of the copy operation.

Complete list of Range members that are also available on RangeAreas


Be familiar with Read properties of RangeAreas before you write code that reads any properties listed. There are subtleties to what gets returned.

  • address
  • addressLocal
  • cellCount
  • conditionalFormats
  • context
  • dataValidation
  • format
  • isEntireColumn
  • isEntireRow
  • style
  • worksheet


  • calculate()
  • clear()
  • convertDataTypeToText()
  • convertToLinkedDataType()
  • copyFrom()
  • getEntireColumn()
  • getEntireRow()
  • getIntersection()
  • getIntersectionOrNullObject()
  • getOffsetRange() (named getOffsetRangeAreas on the RangeAreas object)
  • getSpecialCells()
  • getSpecialCellsOrNullObject()
  • getTables()
  • getUsedRange() (named getUsedRangeAreas on the RangeAreas object)
  • getUsedRangeOrNullObject() (named getUsedRangeAreasOrNullObject on the RangeAreas object)
  • load()
  • set()
  • setDirty()
  • toJSON()
  • track()
  • untrack()

RangeArea-specific properties and methods

The RangeAreas type has some properties and methods that are not on the Range object. The following is a selection of them.

  • areas: A RangeCollection object that contains all of the ranges represented by the RangeAreas object. The RangeCollection object is also new and is similar to other Excel collection objects. It has an items property which is an array of Range objects representing the ranges.
  • areaCount: The total number of ranges in the RangeAreas.
  • getOffsetRangeAreas: Works just like Range.getOffsetRange, except that a RangeAreas is returned and it contains ranges that are each offset from one of the ranges in the original RangeAreas.

Create RangeAreas

You can create RangeAreas object in two basic ways:

  • Call Worksheet.getRanges() and pass it a string with comma-delimited range addresses. If any range you want to include has been made into a NamedItem, you can include the name, instead of the address, in the string.
  • Call Workbook.getSelectedRanges(). This method returns a RangeAreas representing all the ranges that are selected on the currently active worksheet.

Once you have a RangeAreas object, you can create others using the methods on the object that return RangeAreas such as getOffsetRangeAreas and getIntersection.


You cannot directly add additional ranges to a RangeAreas object. For example, the collection in RangeAreas.areas does not have an add method.


Do not attempt to directly add or delete members of the the RangeAreas.areas.items array. This will lead to undesirable behavior in your code. For example, it is possible to push an additional Range object onto the array, but doing so will cause errors because RangeAreas properties and methods behave as if the new item isn't there. For example, the areaCount property does not include ranges pushed in this way, and the RangeAreas.getItemAt(index) throws an error if index is larger than areasCount-1. Similarly, deleting a Range object in the RangeAreas.areas.items array by getting a reference to it and calling its Range.delete method causes bugs: although the Range object is deleted, the properties and methods of the parent RangeAreas object behave, or try to, as if it is still in existence. For example, if your code calls RangeAreas.calculate, Office will try to calculate the range, but will error because the range object is gone.

Set properties on multiple ranges

Setting a property on a RangeAreas object sets the corresponding property on all the ranges in the RangeAreas.areas collection.

The following is an example of setting a property on multiple ranges. The function highlights the ranges F3:F5 and H3:H5.

await (context) => {
    let sheet = context.workbook.worksheets.getActiveWorksheet();
    let rangeAreas = sheet.getRanges("F3:F5, H3:H5");
    rangeAreas.format.fill.color = "pink";

    await context.sync();

This example applies to scenarios in which you can hard code the range addresses that you pass to getRanges or easily calculate them at runtime. Some of the scenarios in which this would be true include:

  • The code runs in the context of a known template.
  • The code runs in the context of imported data where the schema of the data is known.

Get special cells from multiple ranges

The getSpecialCells and getSpecialCellsOrNullObject methods on the RangeAreas object work analogously to methods of the same name on the Range object. These methods return the cells with the specified characteristic from all of the ranges in the RangeAreas.areas collection. For more details on special cells, see Find special cells within a range.

When calling the getSpecialCells or getSpecialCellsOrNullObject method on a RangeAreas object:

  • If you pass Excel.SpecialCellType.sameConditionalFormat as the first parameter, the method returns all cells with the same conditional formatting as the upper-leftmost cell in the first range in the RangeAreas.areas collection.
  • If you pass Excel.SpecialCellType.sameDataValidation as the first parameter, the method returns all cells with the same data validation rule as the upper-leftmost cell in the first range in the RangeAreas.areas collection.

Read properties of RangeAreas

Reading property values of RangeAreas requires care, because a given property may have different values for different ranges within the RangeAreas. The general rule is that if a consistent value can be returned it will be returned. For example, in the following code, the RGB code for pink (#FFC0CB) and true will be logged to the console because both the ranges in the RangeAreas object have a pink fill and both are entire columns.

await (context) => {
    let sheet = context.workbook.worksheets.getActiveWorksheet();

    // The ranges are the F column and the H column.
    let rangeAreas = sheet.getRanges("F:F, H:H");  
    rangeAreas.format.fill.color = "pink";

    rangeAreas.load("format/fill/color, isEntireColumn");
    await context.sync();

    console.log(rangeAreas.format.fill.color); // #FFC0CB
    console.log(rangeAreas.isEntireColumn); // true

Things get more complicated when consistency isn't possible. The behavior of RangeAreas properties follows these three principles:

  • A boolean property of a RangeAreas object returns false unless the property is true for all the member ranges.
  • Non-boolean properties, with the exception of the address property, return null unless the corresponding property on all the member ranges has the same value.
  • The address property returns a comma-delimited string of the addresses of the member ranges.

For example, the following code creates a RangeAreas in which only one range is an entire column and only one is filled with pink. The console will show null for the fill color, false for the isEntireRow property, and "Sheet1!F3:F5, Sheet1!H:H" (assuming the sheet name is "Sheet1") for the address property.

await (context) => {
    let sheet = context.workbook.worksheets.getActiveWorksheet();
    let rangeAreas = sheet.getRanges("F3:F5, H:H");

    let pinkColumnRange = sheet.getRange("H:H");
    pinkColumnRange.format.fill.color = "pink";

    rangeAreas.load("format/fill/color, isEntireColumn, address");
    await context.sync();

    console.log(rangeAreas.format.fill.color); // null
    console.log(rangeAreas.isEntireColumn); // false
    console.log(rangeAreas.address); // "Sheet1!F3:F5, Sheet1!H:H"

See also