Working with Cell Notation

XlsxWriter supports two forms of notation to designate the position of cells: Row-column notation and A1 notation.

Row-column notation uses a zero based index for both row and column while A1 notation uses the standard Excel alphanumeric sequence of column letter and 1-based row. For example:

(0, 0)      # Row-column notation.
('A1')      # The same cell in A1 notation.

(6, 2)      # Row-column notation.
('C7')      # The same cell in A1 notation.

Row-column notation is useful if you are referring to cells programmatically:

for row in range(0, 5):
    worksheet.write(row, 0, 'Hello')

A1 notation is useful for setting up a worksheet manually and for working with formulas:

worksheet.write('H1', 200)
worksheet.write('H2', '=H1+1')

In general when using the XlsxWriter module you can use A1 notation anywhere you can use row-column notation.

XlsxWriter supports Excels worksheet limits of 1,048,576 rows by 16,384 columns.

Note

Ranges in A1 notation must be in uppercase, like in Excel.

Note

In Excel it is also possible to use R1C1 notation. This is not supported by XlsxWriter.

Relative and Absolute cell references

When dealing with Excel cell references it is important to distinguish between relative and absolute cell references in Excel.

Relative cell references change when they are copied while Absolute references maintain fixed row and/or column references. In Excel absolute references are prefixed by the dollar symbol as shown below:

A1    # Column and row are relative.
$A1   # Column is absolute and row is relative.
A$1   # Column is relative and row is absolute.
$A$1  # Column and row are absolute.

See the Microsoft Office documentation for more information on relative and absolute references.

Some functions such as conditional_format() require absolute references.

Defined Names and Named Ranges

It is also possible to define and use “Defined names/Named ranges” in workbooks and worksheets, see define_name():

workbook.define_name('Exchange_rate', '=0.96')
worksheet.write('B3', '=B2*Exchange_rate')

See also Example: Defined names/Named ranges.

Cell Utility Functions

The XlsxWriter utility module contains several helper functions for dealing with A1 notation as shown below. These functions can be imported as follows:

from xlsxwriter.utility import xl_rowcol_to_cell

cell = xl_rowcol_to_cell(1, 2)  # C2

xl_rowcol_to_cell()

xl_rowcol_to_cell(row, col[, row_abs, col_abs])

Convert a zero indexed row and column cell reference to a A1 style string.

Parameters:
  • row (int) – The cell row.
  • col (int) – The cell column.
  • row_abs (bool) – Optional flag to make the row absolute.
  • col_abs (bool) – Optional flag to make the column absolute.
Return type:

A1 style string.

The xl_rowcol_to_cell() function converts a zero indexed row and column cell values to an A1 style string:

cell = xl_rowcol_to_cell(0, 0)   # A1
cell = xl_rowcol_to_cell(0, 1)   # B1
cell = xl_rowcol_to_cell(1, 0)   # A2

The optional parameters row_abs and col_abs can be used to indicate that the row or column is absolute:

str = xl_rowcol_to_cell(0, 0, col_abs=True)                # $A1
str = xl_rowcol_to_cell(0, 0, row_abs=True)                # A$1
str = xl_rowcol_to_cell(0, 0, row_abs=True, col_abs=True)  # $A$1

xl_cell_to_rowcol()

xl_cell_to_rowcol(cell_str)

Convert a cell reference in A1 notation to a zero indexed row and column.

Parameters:cell_str (string) – A1 style string, absolute or relative.
Return type:Tuple of ints for (row, col).

The xl_cell_to_rowcol() function converts an Excel cell reference in A1 notation to a zero based row and column. The function will also handle Excel’s absolute, $, cell notation:

(row, col) = xl_cell_to_rowcol('A1')    # (0, 0)
(row, col) = xl_cell_to_rowcol('B1')    # (0, 1)
(row, col) = xl_cell_to_rowcol('C2')    # (1, 2)
(row, col) = xl_cell_to_rowcol('$C2')   # (1, 2)
(row, col) = xl_cell_to_rowcol('C$2')   # (1, 2)
(row, col) = xl_cell_to_rowcol('$C$2')  # (1, 2)

xl_col_to_name()

xl_col_to_name(col[, col_abs])

Convert a zero indexed column cell reference to a string.

Parameters:
  • col (int) – The cell column.
  • col_abs (bool) – Optional flag to make the column absolute.
Return type:

Column style string.

The xl_col_to_name() converts a zero based column reference to a string:

column = xl_col_to_name(0)    # A
column = xl_col_to_name(1)    # B
column = xl_col_to_name(702)  # AAA

The optional parameter col_abs can be used to indicate if the column is absolute:

column = xl_col_to_name(0, False)  # A
column = xl_col_to_name(0, True)   # $A
column = xl_col_to_name(1, True)   # $B

xl_range()

xl_range(first_row, first_col, last_row, last_col)

Converts zero indexed row and column cell references to a A1:B1 range string.

Parameters:
  • first_row (int) – The first cell row.
  • first_col (int) – The first cell column.
  • last_row (int) – The last cell row.
  • last_col (int) – The last cell column.
Return type:

A1:B1 style range string.

The xl_range() function converts zero based row and column cell references to an A1:B1 style range string:

cell_range = xl_range(0, 0, 9, 0)  # A1:A10
cell_range = xl_range(1, 2, 8, 2)  # C2:C9
cell_range = xl_range(0, 0, 3, 4)  # A1:E4

xl_range_abs()

xl_range_abs(first_row, first_col, last_row, last_col)

Converts zero indexed row and column cell references to a $A$1:$B$1 absolute range string.

Parameters:
  • first_row (int) – The first cell row.
  • first_col (int) – The first cell column.
  • last_row (int) – The last cell row.
  • last_col (int) – The last cell column.
Return type:

$A$1:$B$1 style range string.

The xl_range_abs() function converts zero based row and column cell references to an absolute $A$1:$B$1 style range string:

cell_range = xl_range_abs(0, 0, 9, 0)  # $A$1:$A$10
cell_range = xl_range_abs(1, 2, 8, 2)  # $C$2:$C$9
cell_range = xl_range_abs(0, 0, 3, 4)  # $A$1:$E$4