How to Set a Print Area in Excel

Before you print, learn these tricks

Before printing an Excel spreadsheet, you should set the print area so it can fit on standard paper sizes. It's trickier than printing from Word, which already has print areas.

If you frequently need to print a specific selection or selections of the worksheet, you can define one or more print areas. Then when you print the spreadsheet, only those areas are printed, each as a separate page.

You can also add cells to an existing print area and clear one or more print areas if you change your mind. (Or remove all print areas if you need to print the whole thing.) Worksheets can have as many print areas as you need; each print area represents one page.

These instructions apply to Excel 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010, 2007, and Excel for Microsoft 365.

Reasons to Set Print Areas in Excel

If you print out a large spreadsheet without setting print areas, you run the risk of outputting hard to read, unformatted pages. If the sheet is wider or longer than the paper your printer is using, you’ll end up cutting off rows and columns. It won’t look pretty. Setting print areas gives you control over what each page looks like, so it’s easy to read and understand.

Setting a print area in Excel.

Set One or More Excel Print Areas

  1. Open a worksheet and select the cells that you want to be part of the print area.

  2. To set more than one print area, hold down the Ctrl key and select the areas you want to print. Each print area gets a separate page.

  3. Go to the Page Layout tab.

  4. In the Page Setup group, click Print Area and select Set Print Area from the drop-down menu.

  5. When you save your workbook, it also retains the print areas.

How to Add Cells to an Excel Print Area

Once you’ve set a print area, you can add adjacent cells to it, if you made a mistake the first time or input additional data.

Adding cells to a print area in Excel

If you try to add cells that are not adjacent to your print area, Excel creates a new one for those cells.

  1. On your worksheet, select the adjacent cells you want to add to the existing print area.

  2. Go to the Page Layout tab of the Ribbon.

  3. In the Page Setup section, click Print Area > Add to Print Area.

How to Clear a Print Area in Excel

You can also change print areas that you no longer need or created by mistake.

Clearing a print area in Excel.
  1. Click a cell in a print area that you want to remove.

  2. Go to the Page Layout tab.

  3. In the Page Setup section, click Print Area > Clear Print Area.

View Your Excel Print Areas

You can see your print areas and preview them before printing your spreadsheet.

To see your print areas:

Excel's page break preview.
  1. Go to the View tab.

  2. In the Workbook Views section, click Page Break Preview.

  3. Click Normal in the Workbook Views section to return to the spreadsheet.

  4. When you’re ready to print, click File > Print.

  5. To the right of the print options, you can scroll through each printable page in the document. 

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