At times you may want to print a specific area of a spreadsheet that highlights the salient features you want, rather than bringing an entire worksheet to a meeting. If you want to print a specific part on a worksheet that has the data you want, you can set a print area that includes that specific selection. However, it can be a challenging task if you want to print the same selection on every page of the workbook. In this tutorial you’ll learn:

  • What a print area is
  • How to set a print area in an Excel worksheet
  • How to modify a print area
  • How to set a print area on multiple Excel worksheets

Learning how to set a print area on multiple Excel worksheets will not only save you time but will also allow you to print only the information you want.

In Excel a print area allows you to select specific cells on a worksheet which can then be printed off separately from the rest of the page. It simply refers to a range of cells you designate to print when you don’t want to print off an entire workbook.

When you hit Ctrl + P on a worksheet that has a defined print area, only the print area will be printed. You can set multiple print areas in a single worksheet. In this case each print area will print as a separate page.

Setting a print area is simple and straightforward. Just open an Excel worksheet and highlight the cells you want to print. Click the “Print Area” option on the Page Layout tab, and in the “Page Setup” section select “Set Print Area.”

microsoft-excel-set-print-area

microsoft-excel-set-print-area

Keep in mind that the print area will be saved once you save the workbook. Now every time you want to print that worksheet, it will only print the data defined in the print area. To clear the print area, go to the “Page Layout tab -> print area -> clear print area.”

You can modify a print area by adding adjacent cells. Note that the option to add cells will only be visible if you have an existing print area. To add cells to an existing printing area:

1. Select cells that you want to add.

2. Navigate to the Page Layout tab, and on the Page Setup group click Print Area, then select Add to Print Area.

microsoft-excel-add-to-print-area

microsoft-excel-add-to-print-area

Note: only adjacent cells can be added to an existing print area. If the cells you want to add are not adjacent to the print area, the system will create an additional print area.

If you use Excel regularly, you have probably  created multiple individual sheets in a single Excel workbook. Often you’ll find that some of your workbooks have sheets that are identical in every way save for input data.

For example, a monthly sales report is likely to have around thirty sheets identical in every way except for the figures. Since all the cells are in the same range and alignment, it’s possible to define a print area that will apply to all the other sheets. Let’s look at how to do it.

1. Open your workbook and select the first sheet.

2. Highlight or select the range of cells you want to print.

3. While holding down the Ctrl key, click on each of the other individual sheets you want to print.

microsoft-excel-print-multiple-sheets

microsoft-excel-print-multiple-sheets

4. Click Ctrl + P and then select “Print Selection” in the Print settings. The system is set to print the active sheets by default which means it will print the entire worksheet. Changing that to “Print Selection” ensures you print only the cells that you have highlighted.

microsoft-excel-print-current-selection

microsoft-excel-print-current-selection

5. Click “Preview” to make sure you got it right. Since each print area will print as a separate page, check the number of pages in the preview to ensure all sheets have been captured.

microsoft-excel-print-preview

microsoft-excel-print-preview

6. Click Okay to print.

Defining a print area is a great way to print only the content you want for your presentation. If you want more customization over your printing options, you can try third-party applications such as Kutools for Excel. However, some of the third-party apps are not free and may require a monthly subscription.

Want to become a spreadsheets pro? Check out our article on the 9 add-ons for Excel to make spreadsheets easier.

Image credit: Business charts with keyboad by DepositPhotos

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