Excel Read/Write Cell or Read/Write range throws error - The range does not exists

The activities Read/Write Range or Read/Write Cell throw an error message "The range does not exist" in some specific scenarios.

Issue Overview

The activities Read/Write Range or Read/Write Cell throw an error message "The range does not exist" in some specific scenarios.



Root Cause


This error is thrown when the Robot can find the workbook it wants to input data to, but the actual write operation to the specific cell fails. It could be that an Excel cell is already selected and has its input screen open, that the excel does not exist, or that there are invalid characters in the write commend that cause a failure.



Diagnosing the issue


1.      Open the workflow from Studio

2.      Go to the debug tab and enable slow step

3.      Add a break point to the activity that is failing.

4.      Run through the automation and see if watching it visually gives any indication of what the problem is. Usually in scenarios like this, it is possible to spot the error when watching the automation run slowly.

5.      Try doing the failing operation manually. This can help identify problems, as most likely the manual operation will throw and Excel application error.

a.      For Example, the MS license could be expired.

6.      If this does not help identify the problem, look at the specific examples below of where we have seen this error in an automation.


Invalid Input


This is a scenario where the input is not valid. For example, try writing the following string to a cell: “=$”

If a user were to do this manually, they would get an error like “There’s a problem with this formula”.

If this error is encountered and the correct string is being used, add an apostrophe to beginning of the string: “ ’=$ “



Excel has a Selected and Open Cell


In this scenario a cell is already selected and waiting for the input to be completed. For example, in the screenshot below, the cell A1 is active and Excel still requires the user to hit enter before the string “This is an Example” is written to A1.


If a user never hits enter and then tries to run an automation that writes to the cell A1, an error that the Range does not exist will be thrown, because Excel cannot accept a new write operation until the previous one is finished.

This can happen due to user intervention, or if a Type Into Activity was used to enter data into a cell prior to the Read or Write activity. The Type Into Activity does not contain a valid string and then this error is thrown.



The Specified Cell does not Exist


The value given for the cell is not valid. Try opening the Excel document and seeing if the specified cell exists. Also check for typos.



Type Into was Used Prior to the Read or Write Range.


If a Type Into activity is used to input date into an Excel sheet and it is not followed up with the enter key, then the next Write/Read Range Activity could fail. It could also be that the Type Into activity had an invalid character in it.