How To Print An Excel Spreadsheet Like A Pro

Written by co-founder Kasper Langmann, Microsoft Office Specialist.

Printing your spreadsheets, aaah…

At the surface, it’s so simple.

Just hit ‘Print’, right?

Not so quick!

Getting your spreadsheets to print well can be surprisingly difficult.

Sometimes they split in weird places. Or you get just a few lines on a page. Maybe the margins are off.

There are a million little annoyances that you can run into when you’re printing spreadsheets.

So, in this tutorial, you get 8 tips for printing your spreadsheets perfect, every time!

*This tutorial is for Excel 2019 for Windows. Got a different version? No problem, you can still follow the exact same steps.

Get your FREE exercise file

Before we get started, hit the button below to download our free example workbook. You can use it to follow along throughout the rest of the article.

Of course, if there’s a specific document that you’re having trouble printing, feel free to use that instead!

Download the FREE Exercise File

Download exercise file
Download free exercise file

Viewing the page layout

While many people use the default normal layout, I find it useful to use the page layout view to get a better idea of how my document will print. Here’s what it looks like:

excel-page-layout

As you can see, the page layout view makes it clear how your spreadsheet will get split over multiple pages.

Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto

If you’re going to print your Excel document, this is a great way to quickly see how it will look.

To activate this view, open the View tab and click the Page Layout view button:

excel-page-layout

Changing the page orientation

One of the simplest tweaks you can make to your spreadsheet to improve the printing is changing the orientation. Like with most apps, the default orientation is portrait (vertical).

But a landscape orientation (horizontal) can help in getting a lot of columns onto a single page. In fact, you might find that it becomes your default orientation for printing.

To change the page orientation in Excel, click over to the Page Layout tab and click Orientation. From there, you can choose portrait or landscape:

excel-page-orientation

It’s easiest to see the effect of changing the page orientation when you’re in the Page Layout view.

Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto

Insert and remove page breaks

If your document is going to print over multiple pages, you can control the layout by adding page breaks. Let’s take a look at how that works.

In the second worksheet of our exercise file, you’ll see that we have a lot of data. So much so, in fact, that it’s going to be split onto four different pages. In the middle of the second page, however, is a heading that splits our data into two sections:

heading-data-split

Let’s insert a page break so that heading appears at the top of the third page, instead of the middle of the second.

First, click on the row that you’d like to appear at the top of the page after the break. (In our case, that’s row 55):

select-row-page-break

Then, click Breaks in the Page Layout tab and select Insert Page Break:

insert-page-break

Now, you’ll see that the new heading has been placed at the top of page three:

after-page-break

You can also insert vertical page breaks.

Selecting the column to the right of where you’d like the break, and repeat the same process of Page Layout > Breaks > Insert Page Break:

insert-vertical-page-break

Excel makes it easy to move page breaks, too. Open up the Page Break Preview in the View tab:

page-break-preview

In this screen, you can see where your data falls on different pages.

And if you want to change where the page breaks are, you can just click and drag the break lines!

Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto

Of course, removing a page break is another option. It’s just as easy as adding one. Select the row below (or the column to the right of) the page break you want to remove, and click Breaks > Remove Page Break.

remove-page-break

Your cells will be back where they started.

If you’d like to remove all the manual page breaks you’ve added, use Breaks > Reset All Page Breaks.

How to print gridlines

By default, Excel won’t print any gridlines between your cells. It might be a matter of preference, or it might result in an easier-to-read document . . . but sometimes you want those gridlines printed.

Let’s take a look at how to do that!

First, select the sheet you’d like to print.

You can also shift-click to select multiple sheets.

Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto

In the Page Layout tab, under the Gridlines heading, make sure to check the box next to Print.

print-gridlines-excel

Now, when you print your document, you’ll get lines between the cells.

You can also select Headings to get the row numbers and column letters, as well.

Scaling your document for printing

Adding page breaks and adjusting the print area are great for splitting up data and selectively printing only some cells.

But you might occasionally want something more straightforward.

Fortunately, Excel allows you to scale your document so it will fit on a single page (or a specified number of pages).

Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto

If your document is just over a single page—as the third sheet in our example workbook is—scaling it down so it finds on one sheet of paper is easy.

Head to the Page Layout tab, find the Scale to Fit section, and click the expansion arrow in the bottom-right corner:

scale-to-fit

In the resulting window, make sure the radio button next to Fit to: is selected, and specify the number of pages you’d like the document to take up.

scale-to-fit-menu

With a larger spreadsheet, you might need to change the proportions by selecting a larger number of pages for the width or height.

You can also use the Adjust to: option to scale the print size of your document up or down to fit it to the number of pages you’d like.

Keep in mind that fitting to a specific number of pages and scaling can result in very tiny text if you’re not careful.

Adjusting page margins

If you need just a little bit more space to get your document printed how you want it, you can adjust Excel’s margins.

The easiest way to do this is by clicking the Margins button in the Page Layout tab. Normal, Wide, and Narrow use preset values, and the Custom Margins… option lets you choose your own.

margins-options

You can also adjust the margins in the Page Setup dialog. Just click the arrow in the bottom-right corner of the Page Setup section of the Page Layout tab.

Click over to the Margins tab of the resulting dialog:

page-setup-margins

Start printing great-looking Excel sheets

Printing spreadsheets in Excel aren’t always easy. This is especially true if you’re working with very large documents.

But by making a few simple tweaks, you’ll have spreadsheet printouts that look especially professional.

Whether you’re trying to squeeze a few more cells onto a single sheet or break up a huge number of pages into more manageable chunks, these printing options will help.

2019-10-15T13:09:51+00:00