We tend to think of a Range as a contiguous set of cells: a single cell, part (or all) of a column, part (or all) of a row, or a rectangular area. However, a Range is one or more or these. The contiguous areas of a Range are held in its *Areas *collection. If *Areas.Count* > 1 then we have a multi-area Range.

To construct a multi-area Range from several single-area ranges, you can use the *Union *operation, which is provided by the *Application *(so, effectively, global).

I came across an example of this in customizing a chart to show only the most recent N records in the source data. Here’s an accumulating table of monthly records:

I want a clustered column chart, with Months as the category (X) axis, and In/Out as the series.

If I wanted data from all records, I would set the chart’s source data range to be the entire table, including the headers, which Excel interprets to give the series names (that is, In and Out).

If I want my chart to show only the most recent 3 months (say), then I need to specify the source data range as the union of A1:C1 and A6:C8. Here’s the Source Data Range as it appears in the chart configuration:

=’Data 2010′!$A$1:$C$1,’Data 2010′!$A$6:$C$8

Here’s a procedure that constructs and sets the range for a given number of months:

Sub LastNMonths(nmonths As Integer) 'pre: 0 < nmonths ' <= Range("A1").CurrentRegion.Rows.Count - 1 Dim ws As Worksheet Dim firstrow As Integer, lastrow As Integer Set ws = Worksheets("Data 2010") lastrow = ws.Range("A1").CurrentRegion.Rows.Count firstrow = lastrow - nmonths + 1 Dim headers As Range Set headers = ws.Range("A1:C1") Dim rng As Range Set rng = ws.Range("A" & firstrow & ":C" & lastrow) Set rng = Union(headers, rng) Dim cht As Chart Set cht = Charts("Chart 2010") With cht .SetSourceData rng .ChartTitle.Text = _ MonthsTitle(ws, firstrow, lastrow) End With End Sub

*MonthsTitle *simply constructs the chart title from the first and last months (from column A) – for example, “Report May-10 to Jul-10″.

As I did this initially in v2003, I have not made use of the ‘table-ness’ of the data – hence the *Range(“A1″).CurrentRegion*.

The procedure was called from a ‘Refresh Chart’ command button on a worksheet, with the *nmonths *value provided via an InputBox.

Before anyone points this out, let me say that you can do a certain amount of this kind of thing using formulas in the Chart configuration (using OFFSET, etc) – see Walkenbach’s ‘Formulas’ book. However, I think it’s clearer, and certainly more flexible to do it in VBA.