Setting a Print Area in Excel

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  • 0:02 Printing Only What You Need
  • 1:10 Setting a Print Area
  • 2:39 Clearing Your Set Print Area
  • 3:38 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Karen Sorensen

Karen has a Bachelors in Communications. She has 25 years of experience in Information Systems, Adult Learning and Virtual Training.

Excel has several print options, including printing one worksheet or an entire workbook. This lesson will guide you through the steps to printing a selected area of a worksheet and explain how to clear your selected print area.

Printing Only What You Need

Imagine you imported a large amount of data from a company database. It has a list of employees with their names, phone numbers, location address, email address, region and so on. You need a printout to share at a meeting in five minutes, but the columns go on and on with data you don't need. You only need the first six columns, which is the key information for each employee. How do you print just a selected area of the spreadsheet so you don't need to spend time deleting columns and re-formatting?

In MS Excel, you can control what you print. Yes, you can print a worksheet, multiple worksheets, an entire workbook or even select certain pages to print. But did you know that you can actually select a specific part of the spreadsheet to print?

This lesson will guide you through the steps to creating a print area, then printing only that area of the spreadsheet. We will also take a look at how to clear the print area, in order to return to printing the entire worksheet or create a new print area.

Setting a Print Area

So, by default, Excel prints the entire worksheet. If we think about our example with employee names and column after column of information we don't need, setting a specific area to print is more efficient. Let's take a look at the steps.

  1. Go to the Page Layout menu in the ribbon.
  2. Select the area of the spreadsheet you want to print.
  3. Look in the Page Setup grouping of commands.
  4. Click on the Print Area command.
  5. Choose Set Print Area from the drop down list.

Your print area has been set. If you go to the File menu in the ribbon and click on the Print command, Excel provides a preview of the document to print. Notice that only the information we selected is in the preview:

Print area in Excel
example print area

Now, here is an important note. When you select the print area, you are setting the print area for that particular worksheet only. Remember, a worksheet is just one page of a workbook. A worksheet is commonly referred to as the spreadsheet. The workbook is the entire Excel file, which can have multiple worksheets. The print area you set does not apply to any other worksheet in your file.

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