Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, and 2013. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: Stepping Through a Non-Contiguous Range of Cells.

Stepping Through a Non-Contiguous Range of Cells

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated July 11, 2016)


Stephe needs to develop a macro that will perform an operation based on the cells that a user selects before running the macro. She knows how to do this if the user selects a range of cells, but she doesn't know how to step through the cells in a selection if the user selects a non-contiguous range of cells.

When it comes to VBA, there is very little difference between a contiguous selection and a non-contiguous selection. Excel lets you access each of them the same. Consider the following code snippet:

Dim c As Range

For Each c In Selection
    ' do something here
    MsgBox c.Address & vbTab & c.Value
Next c

In this case the cells in the selected range are stepped through, one at a time, using the For ... Next loop. Inside the loop the c variable represents an individual cell and can be used in references, as shown.

If, for some reason, you want to access each contiguous area within the selection, you can do so by specifically addressing the Areas group, as shown in this snippet:

Dim a As Range
Dim c As Range

For Each a In Selection.Areas
    'Now each a refers to a contiguous range
    'Do something here with areas, if desired
    For Each c In a.Cells
        'Now each c refers to a cell in the area
        'Do something here
        MsgBox c.Address & vbTab & c.Value
    Next c
Next a

You should also note that if the range you want to access (contiguous or non-contiguous) has been named in Excel, you can also access just the cells in the named range. Simply replace the word "Selection" in each of these examples with name of the range, in this manner:

Dim c As Range

For Each c In Range("MyNamedRange")
    ' do something here
    MsgBox c.Address & vbTab & c.Value
Next c

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (8703) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Stepping Through a Non-Contiguous Range of Cells.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...


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What is 7 + 6?

2014-11-06 12:11:55

Phil Reinie

This tip along with the one about processing hidden cells I'll use as reference for my macro which concatenates values in multiple selections into one cell.
It gets real tricky because I have to check that the values don't overflow the destination cell for the version of Excel used (max 32,767 in Excel 2007), ask if hidden cells are or aren't copied, determine a delimiter, if blank bypass the copy, etc.

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