Syntax Overview

The xlwings object model is very similar to the one used by VBA.

All code samples below depend on the following import:

>>> import xlwings as xw

Active Objects

# Active app (i.e. Excel instance)
>>> app =

# Active book
>>> wb =  # in active app
>>> wb =  # in specific app

# Active sheet
>>> sht =  # in active book
>>> sht =  # in specific book

# Range on active sheet
>>> xw.Range('A1')  # on active sheet of active book of active app

A Range can be instantiated with A1 notation, a tuple of Excel’s 1-based indices, a named range or two Range objects:

xw.Range((1,1), (3,3))
xw.Range(xw.Range('A1'), xw.Range('B2'))

Full qualification

Round brackets follow Excel’s behavior (i.e. 1-based indexing), while square brackets use Python’s 0-based indexing/slicing. As an example, the following expressions all reference the same range:


Note that the apps keys are different for you as they are the process IDs (PID). You can get the list of your PIDs via xw.apps.keys().

Range indexing/slicing

Range objects support indexing and slicing, a few examples:

>>> rng = xw.Book().sheets[0].range('A1:D5')
>>> rng[0, 0]
 <Range [Workbook1]Sheet1!$A$1>
>>> rng[1]
 <Range [Workbook1]Sheet1!$B$1>
>>> rng[:, 3:]
<Range [Workbook1]Sheet1!$D$1:$D$5>
>>> rng[1:3, 1:3]
<Range [Workbook1]Sheet1!$B$2:$C$3>

Range Shortcuts

Sheet objects offer a shortcut for range objects by using index/slice notation on the sheet object. This evaluates to either sheet.range or sheet.cells depending on whether you pass a string or indices/slices:

>>> sht = xw.Book().sheets['Sheet1']
>>> sht['A1']
<Range [Book1]Sheet1!$A$1>
>>> sht['A1:B5']
<Range [Book1]Sheet1!$A$1:$B$5>
>>> sht[0, 1]
<Range [Book1]Sheet1!$B$1>
>>> sht[:10, :10]
<Range [Book1]Sheet1!$A$1:$J$10>

Object Hierarchy

The following shows an example of the object hierarchy, i.e. how to get from an app to a range object and all the way back:

>>> rng = xw.apps[10559].books[0].sheets[0].range('A1')
<Excel App 10559>