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

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

import xlwings as xw
sheet1 = xw.Book("MyBook.xlsx").sheets[0]

sheet1.range((1,1), (3,3))

# Or using index/slice notation
sheet1[0, 0]
sheet1[0:4, 0:4]

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().

App context manager

If you want to open a new Excel instance via App(), you usually should use App as a context manager as this will make sure that the Excel instance is closed and cleaned up again properly:

with xw.App() as app:
    book = app.books['Book1']

Range indexing/slicing

Range objects support indexing and slicing, a few examples:

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

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

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