How to Set Print Area in Google Sheets

Google Sheets can have up to 5 million cells. It’s definitely overwhelming, but it can accommodate all the numbers you want to crunch and the formulas you want to use. Now, what if you need to prepare and print a report with the data and some calculations? 

Spreadsheets are not only for data analysis. More often than not, you will need to present the data together with some charts and graphs in printed form.

And, in most cases, making it as legible as possible might be a challenging task. The good news is Google Sheets provides simple ways to set your print area easily. 

Now, if you’ve been used to how MS Excel sets print areas, you might find how Google Sheets handles it a little different.

Google Sheets does not have the same feature as Excel to set a print area while you’re working on your spreadsheet.

You will only find print area options once you open Google Sheets’ Print settings window. 

You’ve come to the right place because we’ve got you covered. Here, we’ve carefully laid out here in this guide below the steps to easily set the print area of your spreadsheet.

Now, there are about two ways to set the print area in Google Sheets. 

2 Ways to Set Print Area in Google Sheets

  • Setting Selected Cells as Print Area
  • Setting The Current Sheet or Workbook as Print Area

Both these methods will be covered in this guide down below. At the same time, we also made sure to include some customization tips to make your print area more readable when printed. 

Hopefully, you’ll find the steps outlined here relatively easy to follow, as we have created this tutorial with beginners in mind. Also, we will expound on each of the methods bit by bit to help you follow us at every step of the way. 

Without any delay, let’s get on with it! 

Why Should You Set the Print Area in Google Sheets?  

Google Sheets offers simple ways to configure how your spreadsheets print. You can choose to print your entire workbook, some parts of your sheets, or the sheet you’re currently working on. 

By default, Google Sheets will print the current sheet, fitting what it can in one or more pages. Believe us when we say that you do not want to do this. When you simply hit the print button, a lot of things could go wrong: like cells being cut or a blank column being printed on a different page. Even worse is when your printer is spitting blank pages with only headers and footers on it. 

Learning how to properly set Print Areas in Google Sheets is an essential skill to have, especially for corporate situations. Printing out spreadsheets is usually not something you worry about until your printer prints out the wrong thing. 

Here are a couple of situations where setting the print area in Google Sheets is a helpful configuration. You’ll want to set the print area in Google Sheets when: 

  • You want to print a certain portion of your worksheet. 
  • You want to print the entire workbook.  
  • You don’t want to waste your paper printing blank sections of a worksheet. 
  • You want to save time by printing only what you need.    

These are just a few general guidelines we have come up with. Of course, there are definitely a lot of other cases as to when setting the print area is useful, and that will have to be up to your judgment. The aforementioned circumstances are situations where figuring out how to set a print area in Google Sheets is a useful skill to have. 

That being said, here’s how you can set the print area in Google Sheets. 


Method 1: Set Selected Cells as Print Area

Oftentimes, we don’t want to print an entire worksheet. In this method, we will show you how to set a certain part of your spreadsheet as the print area. 

Here’s how you can do that. 

Step 1: Open up your Google Sheets document. 

Before anything else, we will need to open up a spreadsheet file. If you don’t have one yet, you may create a copy of the document used in this guide. Alternatively, feel free to use your own personal spreadsheet if you have one that needs to be printed. 

Step 2: Select the cells you want to print.

Once your spreadsheet is ready, carefully select the portion of the spreadsheet you want to print. For this example, we are selecting the range J1:K7

  1. Select the cells that you want to print. 

Note that if you want to print separate sections of your spreadsheet, you will need to repeat this method for each one of them. 

Step 3: Click the Print button. 

Click the Print button found at the top-left corner of your spreadsheet window. 

This will direct you to the Print settings window

Alternatively, you may click the File Menu and select Print. The Print option is placed at the bottom of the list. 

Tip: You can always use a shortcut key to show the Print settings window. Simply press CTRL+P on your keyboard. We understand that it’s always more satisfying to use a shortcut key. 

Step 4: Print your document. 

Once you’re on the Print settings window, click the Print drop-down list and select Selected Cells. You will notice Google Sheets detects and shows you the range of the cells you selected. For this example, it should show Selected Cells (J1:K7)

Click the Next button if you want to proceed. Otherwise, click the Cancel button to go back to your spreadsheet window. 

  1. Click Next to proceed. 
  2. Click Cancel to go back to the previous window.  

Way to go! You’ve just set the print area in Google Sheets. Now, if you want to learn more about customizing your print area, go ahead and skip to the “Customizing your Print Area in Google Sheets” section. 


Method 2: Set Current Sheet or Workbook as Print Area

In this method, we will guide you on how to set the worksheet you are working on as the print area. Moreover, you will also find here the steps on how to print your whole workbook. 

This is how you do that. 

Step 1: Open up your spreadsheet file.

To get started, go ahead and open a Google Sheets document or, better yet, use your own personal document where you need something printed. There’s really nothing to worry about as we are only printing your document. None of your contents should be changed or deleted. 

Now, if you don’t have any yet, you may create a complete copy of the document used in this guide so you can follow us every step of the way. 

Step 2: Click the Print button. 

Click the Print button found in the Menu bar. The Print window will show up. 

On the right part of the window, click the drop-down menu below the text Print. Select Current Sheet if you want to print the current sheet only. Otherwise, select Workbook if you want to print the entire workbook. Do note that printing the whole workbook will only print cells that have active values.  

Note: The Workbook option will only be available to spreadsheets that have more than one sheet. 

  1. Click the Print drop-down menu. 
  2. Select Current Sheet to print the current sheet only. 
  3. Select Workbook to print the entire workbook.  

When choosing the Workbook option, we highly recommend that you revisit your sheets to double check active cells. You can do this by pressing CTRL+A on your keyboard. This will highlight the active cells so you could adjust the table accordingly. This way, you can avoid too many blank rows or columns before printing. 

Click the Next button found at the top-right corner once finished. You will be directed to the Chrome print dialogue box. This is the same dialogue box that we encounter whenever we want to print something in Chrome. 

Click the Cancel button if you changed your mind. 

Congratulations! You’ve just set the current sheet and workbook as the print areas in Google Sheets. 


Customizing your Print Area in Google Sheets

Google Sheets provides several ways to tweak print settings to make your printouts more legible and look nicer. All these options are found in the right panel of the Print settings window

These options allow you to preview the pages and configure how they should appear when printed. We have listed below some of the many useful functions Google Sheets has to offer. 

Paper Size

Use this when you want to specify the type of paper you are going to use or if you are using a custom-sized one.  

Page Orientation

Use this when you want to switch between landscape or portrait orientation. 

Scale 

Use this when you want to fine-tune how your print area appears on the page. This is most useful when you want to fit a certain portion of your sheet to the width or height of the page. 

Margins

Use this when you want to specify the margins around your print area. You can specify unit measurements in this option, just like in Google Docs and MS Word. 

Set Custom Page Breaks  

Use this when you want to specify page breaks within your worksheets. This is most useful when you need to manually divide the whole spreadsheets into pages.

Formatting

Use this when you want to show gridlines, notes as well as to specify the page order and print area alignment. 

Headers & Footers

Use this when you want to add usual details found in headers and footers like the page numbers, date, time, title, etc. 


Conclusion

You have finally arrived at the end of this tutorial. Hopefully, we’ve helped you figure out how to set the print area in Google Sheets. You can always count on the methods we discussed in this guide to get the job done. Now, allow us to give you a quick rundown of what we’ve covered today. 

One way or another, spreadsheets need to be presented in printed form. Google Sheets allows us to easily control the print area to avoid having contents showing up in awkward places. And, in just a few clicks, we can choose to set selected cells, your current sheet or your entire workbook as print areas. Furthermore, you can quickly access the Print settings window using the CTRL+P shortcut key. 

We hope you found this article helpful!

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