When you first print a sheet from Excel, you may have assumed the program will print what’s necessary, unfortunately, it doesn’t. Printing from Excel isn’t like printing from Microsoft Word where the borders are so easily defined, unlike Excel where the borders are virtually limitless. Instead, you’ll be using ‘Print Area’ far more often than your standard printing, in fact, you’ll most likely use ‘Print Area’ exclusively given the problems standard printing causes.

You see, if you choose to print by default, the results you’ll get are a jumbled mess, papers of rows and columns, many of which are cut off because the paper is too small to handle the very large canvas that Excel works with. With ‘Print Area,’ you are in control of what gets printed and what doesn’t and what you choose as the area isn’t set in stone; you can change the number of cells from any area by adding or delete any cells you don’t have a need for.

Creating a Print Area in Excel

So, what’s the ratio between areas and printed pages? Well, for every ‘print area,’ you’ll get a single sheet. If you have 3 print areas, you’ll print 3 pages to print. And to be clear, this will work for Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019 as well as Microsoft Excel for Office 365.

1. Locate and launch Microsoft Excel and open the worksheet you want to print or just any old document.

2. In the worksheet, highlight the cells you want added to a print area. Don’t leave behind a single cell.

3. At the top, you’ll see your toolbar and tabs or your ‘Ribbon.’ Click Page Layout.

Page Setup

4. On the Page Layout ribbon, you’ll see a section name Page Setup. In Page Setup, click Print Area. Clicking it will open a very small drop down menu.

click Set Print Area

5. In the drop down menu, click Set Print Area. And that’s it. Now, every cell that was selected for the print area will get printed.

choose Add to Print Area

6. If you want to add additional print areas, you have to choose Add to Print Area from the drop down menu of Print Area. Do NOT choose Set Print Area or you’ll overwrite your other print areas.

Deleting a Print Area in Excel

You’ve created a number of print areas but some of them can go. What can you do about it? You are welcome to delete them and here’s how:

1. In the worksheet, highlight the cells you want to delete from a print area, it can be a single cell, multiple cells or the entire print area.

2. Head back to your Ribbon and choose the Page Layout tab again.

3. Go back to the Page Setup section again and choose Print Area, opening the drop down menu.

click Clear Print Area

4. In the drop down menu, click Clear Print Area.

Viewing a Print Area(s) in Excel

Believe it or not, but you can view all of the print areas within a worksheet. It can really help to visualize what’s being printed and what isn’t, and even help pinpoint cells you want to delete. And to make things easier, Microsoft Excel even numbers the pages and their print order. All it takes is a few clicks of your mouse.

1. In the worksheet, look to the top of Microsoft Excel at your Ribbon. Locate and click the View tab.

Page Break Preview

2. Now, on the left hand side of the Ribbon, you’ll see a section labeled ‘Workbook Views.’ In that small window, you’ll see Page Break Preview. Click it. Every cell in your worksheet will disappear and only leave behind the print areas.

Head back to Workbook Views and click Normal to bring back your worksheet cells.

3. When you’re satisfied with your print areas, click File in the top left corner of Microsoft Excel.

4. In File, click Print. Afterwards, you have the opportunity to scroll through the printed areas on the right hand side in the preview window.

As you can see, it’s very easy to simply print specifics areas in Microsoft Excel and, boy, is it needed. The last thing you want is printing a dozen pages of nothing but blank cells.