How to Change a Range in Microsoft Excel: A Step-by-Step Guide

Changing a range in Microsoft Excel is a simple process that can be accomplished by selecting the cells you want to include in the new range and then adjusting the formula or function that references the range. This quick change can help you update your data analysis or calculations based on new or different information.

After you complete the action of changing a range, your Excel worksheet will update to reflect the new range of data. This means that any formulas, charts, or tables that were using the old range will now use the new range and show updated results.


Microsoft Excel is a powerful tool that is used worldwide for various purposes such as data analysis, financial modeling, and record keeping. One of the most common tasks in Excel is changing a range – whether it’s because you’ve added new data, need to analyze a different set of numbers, or made a mistake in your original selection. Being able to change a range efficiently is essential for anyone who uses Excel regularly.

Changing a range can seem daunting at first, but once you know how, it’s a breeze. And trust me, knowing how to do this can save you a ton of time and headache. Whether you’re a student crunching numbers for a project, an accountant balancing the books, or a marketer tracking campaign metrics, understanding how to change a range in Excel is a skill that will come in handy.

How to Change a Range in Microsoft Excel

Before we dive into the step-by-step guide, let’s understand what we’ll accomplish by following these steps. Changing a range in Excel allows you to update the cells or area that a formula or chart references. This is particularly useful when you have added new data to a spreadsheet or need to analyze a different subset of data.

Step 1: Select the New Range

Click and drag to select the new range of cells you want to include.

Selecting the new range is the first step in changing a range in Excel. Make sure to click on the first cell you want to include, and while holding down the left mouse button, drag the cursor to the last cell in the new range. Once selected, the new range will be highlighted.

Step 2: Update the Formula or Chart

Change the cell references in the formula or chart to match the new range.

Updating the formula or chart is the next step. Click on the formula bar at the top of Excel, and manually change the cell references to match the new range. For example, if the original range was A1:A5 and the new range is A1:A10, change the formula from =SUM(A1:A5) to =SUM(A1:A10).

Step 3: Press Enter

After updating the formula or chart, press Enter to apply the changes.

Pressing Enter will confirm the changes you’ve made to the range. Excel will automatically update the formula or chart with the new range, and you will see the results change accordingly.


FlexibilityChanging a range in Excel is a flexible process that allows you to quickly adjust your data analysis as needed.
AccuracyBy updating the range to include the correct cells, you can ensure that your calculations are accurate.
EfficiencyOnce you know how to change a range, it can save you a significant amount of time as opposed to creating new formulas or charts from scratch.


Error ProneIf you’re not careful when changing the range, it’s easy to make a mistake and include the wrong cells, leading to inaccurate results.
ConfusionFor beginners, understanding how ranges work in Excel can be confusing and may require some learning.
DependenceOther cells or formulas that depend on the original range may be affected by the change, so you need to be mindful of the ripple effects.

Additional Information

When changing a range in Microsoft Excel, there are a few additional tips to keep in mind. First, familiarize yourself with the various ways to select cells in Excel. You can click and drag, use Ctrl + Click to select non-adjacent cells, or even use the Shift + Arrow key combination for precision selection.

Another useful tip is to name your ranges. This can make your formulas easier to read and maintain. For example, instead of using =SUM(A1:A10), you could name the range ‘SalesData’ and use =SUM(SalesData) instead. To name a range, select the cells, right-click, and choose ‘Define Name.’

Lastly, remember to check for any dependent formulas or data connections that might be affected by the change in range. Excel has a ‘Trace Dependents’ feature that shows you which cells are affected by the selected cell, which can be incredibly helpful.


  1. Select the New Range
  2. Update the Formula or Chart
  3. Press Enter

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if I select the wrong range?

If you select the wrong range, your formula or chart will use the incorrect data. You can simply reselect the correct range and update the formula or chart again.

Can I change multiple ranges at once?

Yes, you can change multiple ranges at once by holding down the Ctrl key while selecting additional ranges.

What if my range includes blank cells?

Blank cells in a range will be ignored in most functions, but they may affect the layout of a chart.

Can I use the same process to change a range in other functions?

Yes, the process of changing a range is generally the same for most functions and formulas in Excel.

How do I know if other cells are dependent on the range I’m changing?

You can use the ‘Trace Dependents’ feature under the ‘Formulas’ tab to see which cells are affected by changes in the selected range.


Changing a range in Microsoft Excel is a fundamental skill that can drastically improve your efficiency and accuracy when working with spreadsheets. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a complete novice, mastering this task will undoubtedly pay off in the long run. Just remember to be cautious, double-check your selections, and consider the implications of changing a range on your overall data analysis. Happy spreadsheeting!

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