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How To Set Print Area in Excel: An Easy 2024 Guide

Fact Checked By Cindy Wong

Knowing how to set print area in Excel is essential for many offices. It allows you to select specific cell ranges to print, which improves readability, reduces paper waste, helps customize the print, and maintains consistent formatting.

In short, you have to navigate to “Page Layout” > “Page Setup” > “Print Area” > “Set Print Area.”

In this article, I’ll show you how to set the print area for Microsoft Excel. I’ll also walk you through the issues with setting the print area in Excel and how you can navigate them.

What Is the Print Area in Excel

Print area Excel defines the cell range to be included in a printout. Clicking the “Print” button or pressing the Ctrl key + P keyboard shortcut lets you print an entire spreadsheet. However, setting the click print area in Excel will only allow you to include the selected area instead of the entire workbook.

You can select multiple print areas in a single spreadsheet using the Excel print settings, and every selected area will be printed on a new page. Defining print area Excel gives you more control over the look of every printed page, and I always recommend users select print area in Excel before printing a spreadsheet.

If you do not specify the print range of Excel, it might lead to messy pages, which can be hard to read. This can also cause essential data to be cut off, impacting the quality of your spreadsheet, so make sure you specify your data range.

Related Reading: Set the Print Area in Google Sheets

How To Set Print Area in Excel

Luckily, learning how to set print areas in Excel is easy. Follow the steps below to set the print area so only the selected cells will print in Excel instead of the entire worksheet:

How to set print area in Excel GIF
  1. Open the spreadsheet where you want to adjust the print area in Excel.
  2. Drag your mouse cursor and select the cell range where you wish to set the print area.
  3. Click the “Page Layout” tab in the main top ribbon.
  4. Click “Print Area” in the Page Setup group.
  5. In the dropdown menu that shows up, click on “Set Print Area.”
  6. Hit the print button.

The cell range selected as the print area will now have a thin grey border around it on your device. This also makes it a named range that you can search.

How To Add Multiple Cell Ranges for Print Area in Excel

Multiple print areas can be extremely helpful, allowing you to print different cell ranges on different print active sheets.

The steps to select multiple cell ranges as print areas are similar to the ones for selecting one range. Here are steps to alter the print options and change the print area in Excel for multiple cell ranges:

  1. Open the Excel spreadsheet where you wish to set the multiple cell ranges as the print area.
Click on Page Layout
  1. Drag your mouse cursor to select the first cell range you wish to set as the print area.
  2. Press Ctrl on your keyboard and select multiple cell ranges.
Click Set print area
  1. Click the Page Layout tab in the main ribbon towards the top of the window and click the “Print Area” button in the “Page Setup” section.
  2. In the dropdown menu, click the “Set Print Area” button to set the first cell range as the print area.
Go to view and page break

However, having multiple cell ranges set as print areas can be confusing. That’s why having an easy way to view the print area is helpful.

To do this, head to the “View” tab from the main ribbon. Click the “Page Break Preview” button in the “Workbook Views” section. To revert it, click on the “Normal” button.

How To Adjust Print Area in Excel

Excel’s print area feature isn’t dynamic, meaning the print area will not increase or decrease based on the input data. Thankfully, you won’t have to reselect the print area every time you make changes to the spreadsheet. Here are steps to change the print area in Excel:

  1. Open the Excel spreadsheet where you wish to adjust the print area.
  2. Drag your mouse cursor and select the area you wish to add to the existing print area.
Click on Page Layout in Excel
  1. With the new cell range selected, click on the “Page Layout” option in the main ribbon.
Where to find the print area options in Excel
  1. Click the “Print Area” button in the “Page Setup” section to open a dropdown menu.
Where to find the "Add to print area" option in Excel.
  1. Click on the “Add to Print Area” option.

When you select a cell range adjacent to an existing cell range already selected as a print area, it will be added to the existing print area. The ranges of cells that are on a separate page and are not a part of another range will be treated as a new print area.

Related Reading: How to Print on One Page in Google Sheets

How To Remove Print Area in Excel

Removing the print area in Excel is easy and follows the steps discussed in the headings above. These being:

The file path the clear the print options GIF
  1. Open the Excel spreadsheet where you wish to remove the print area.
  2. Click on the “Page Layout” button in the main ribbon.
  3. Click the “Print Area” button and choose the “Clear Print Area” button from the dropdown menu.

Related Reading: How to Print Selected Cells in Google Sheets

Troubleshooting Print Area in Excel

Of course, Excel’s print area feature may sometimes not work as expected. If this happens, you can resolve the issue using one of my fixes below.

Unable to Set Print Area

The print area can show the wrong cell ranges when you set the print area in Excel. The incorrect selection of the area can cause this.

To fix this, clear the print area and save changes to the spreadsheet. Then, try setting the print area again.

Missing Data in Printout

After setting the print area and printing the selected area, some data may be missing from the printout. This tends to happen if the data contains a lot of columns and is printed in a portrait layout.

This issue usually occurs because the column width exceeds the page width. To fix this, try reducing the column width for portrait page orientation and the row height for landscape orientation to ensure the data can fit on one page.

Printed Content Cut-Off

The print preview shows the entire cell range, but the printout doesn’t show the entire data. This tends to happen with incorrect margin selection.

To fix this, adjust the margin and scaling options to ensure the content fits the page’s printable area.

Printout Spans Multiple Pages

When you print out the selected cell range, the printed rows and columns often spill over to the next page, which can split up the data and waste pages. Adjust the print settings to fit the sheet on one page to fix this. You can also try adjusting the scaling and margin options.

Video walkthrough:

Related Reading: How To Print Labels from Excel

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Print Multiple Areas on One Page in Excel?

Unfortunately, no. You can only print contiguous cell ranges per page.


In this guide, I talked about how to set print area in Excel for single and multiple ranges, some issues with setting print area, and how to fix them. Setting the print area is a straightforward process but offers many benefits, especially if you find yourself working with large spreadsheets.

Are you someone who often prints out their spreadsheets? Let us know some of the tips and tricks you find helpful in the comments below.


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