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I'd like to pull values from a named range into a calculation. I have this function:

function getNamedRange(n){

Seems pretty simple. I have a named range called "budgetItems". It definitely exists and has about 6 values in it. But when I try to pull the values with

var items = getNamedRange("budgetItems"); items.getValues();

it usually says items is null. I've gotten it to work in the past but it seems really flaky. I suspect there is eventual consistency and caching goofing things up here.

I've attached this function (to pull the values from the range) to a menu item. When I run that menu item it takes about 15s to run 5 lines of js -- and then fails. That's... suspicious.

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Are those ranges dynamic or static? –  Jacob Jan Tuinstra Feb 18 '13 at 11:19
As in, do they use $A$1 or A1? It's the latter. Don't know why that'd matter, the data in them changes rarely. –  jcollum Feb 18 '13 at 16:42
Range X = [first,second,third], interaction user will make it X = [second,third,first]. –  Jacob Jan Tuinstra Feb 18 '13 at 16:47
Sorry, I don't understand that. I made a sample spreadsheet to show you what I'm encountering: docs.google.com/spreadsheet/…; that's a simple spreadsheet with one named range and a function that accesses it. The function can't find the named range. –  jcollum Feb 18 '13 at 16:55
I already tried to answer your question but I deleted it. Check the code of the deleted answer. –  Jacob Jan Tuinstra Feb 18 '13 at 17:11

2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

This little script will a retrieve named range and make a summation:

function namedRange() {
  var ss = SpreadsheetApp.getActiveSpreadsheet();
  var sh = ss.getActiveSheet();

  var nRange = ss.getRangeByName("budgetItems");
  var data = nRange.getValues();

  var sum=0;      
  for(var i=0; i<5; i++) {
    sum += parseInt(data[i]);


Using the above code as a formula in Google Spreadsheet, allows for significant reduction of code and API calls:

function getTest(range){
  var sum=0;
  for(var i=0, len=range.length; i<len; i++) {
    sum += parseInt(range[i]);
  return sum;

You can address the range as: =getTest(A1:A5) or =getTest(A1:A9)

See example file: getRangeByName (editable)

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I don't see the difference between what I'm doing and that code. –  jcollum Feb 18 '13 at 17:15
OK your sample is working and mine isn't, I'll look into it a bit. –  jcollum Feb 18 '13 at 17:17
That's why I deleted it........ –  Jacob Jan Tuinstra Feb 18 '13 at 17:18
so the only difference I see is this: var sh = ss.getActiveSheet();, could that be it? I added that to my code (and cleaned up a typo) and it seems to be working. –  jcollum Feb 18 '13 at 17:22
Hmm, taking out ss.getActiveSheet doesn't seem to have changed anything. I'm going to have to look at the original sheet later... –  jcollum Feb 18 '13 at 17:24

Not to point out the obvious but your function is never returning anything

function getNamedRange(n){

you need

function getNamedRange(n){
 return SpreadsheetApp.getActiveSpreadsheet().getRangeByName(n);


var items = getNamedRange("budgetItems"); 

should work just fine

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