Been tearing my hair out today with this one. I'll be as concise as I can.

I have a number of named ranges, and I would like to reference them in a long, ugly formula that works without them just fine. However things get weird when I start to switch to named ranges.

The original, working formula:


The values in use are:

B38: COH
I38: 09/16/16
H38: P
J38: 41.00

It constructs the proper URL and imports the desired table using index(). All is well. The final URL is http://finance.yahoo.com/quote/COH160916P00041000

But now I start adding named ranges rather than cell references and things go sideways.

This fails with an error: =INDEX(IMPORTHTML("http://finance.yahoo.com/quote/"&Symbol&TEXT(Expires,"yymmdd")&Trade_Type&TEXT(SUBSTITUTE(Strike_Price,".",""),"0000000")&"0","table",1),3,2)

All of the named ranges are valid and get properly color coded, but I get the error:

Function INDEX parameter 2 value is 3. Valid values are between 0 and 1 inclusive.

Now to make things more interesting... I can put this in another cell:


And it constructs a perfectly proper URL that works fine. I can then reference that cell from my original formula like so:


and it all works perfectly.

So what on earth is going on here? Why won't my named ranges work directly in the initial index(importhtml()) formula?

  • 1
    In order to be able to reproduce the problem, add the values of the reference or add a link to a demo spreadsheet having only the formulas and the named ranges and the corresponding values..
    – Rubén
    Aug 10, 2016 at 11:34

1 Answer 1


Regarding why INDEX does not work when there are named ranges as parameters, but does work in the other cases, it is not clear to me yet.

I was thinking that the problem is that INDEX requires that its first parameter be a reference to a spreadsheet range, as it's stated in the official documentation.

Besides the formula forms that you already found, you could try to use QUERY instead of INDEX. Example:

  "select Col2 where Col1='Bid'",

Bid is the label for the third row, so I used it to get the value at row 3, column 2.

There are other alternatives but they will depend on the use case an your personal preferences as a spreadsheet user.

  • Ah very interesting, I didn't know about query() so thanks for that! So my index() version will work when the first parameters is a sheet reference, even if that sheet reference is the result of importhtml(), but it won't handle a named range directly. Very interesting... thanks for the explanation! Oh and it works great in my application btw. =)
    – JVC
    Aug 10, 2016 at 20:53
  • Now that I read your comment, I think that I should think again about my response :)
    – Rubén
    Aug 10, 2016 at 21:06
  • @JonathanvanClute: Is you found helpful my answer, please remember to upvote it.
    – Rubén
    Aug 10, 2016 at 22:14
  • Oops, thanks I always forget to do that!
    – JVC
    Aug 10, 2016 at 22:40
  • I stand corrected, your solution works perfectly in some places, and not at all in others. I don't understand. This formula - =query(IMPORTHTML("http://finance.yahoo.com/quote/"&Symbol&TEXT(Expires,"yymmdd")&Trade_Type&text(substitute(Strike_Price,".",""),"0000000")&"0","table",1),"select Col2 where Col1='Bid'", 0) works on some cells and not others, when filled down. When it fails, the error is Unable to parse query string for Function QUERY parameter 2: NO_COLUMN: Col2. How can this be when the column definitely exists??
    – JVC
    Aug 11, 2016 at 0:31

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