Printing Workbooks

Printing in Excel can sometimes be complicated. Learn about Excel printing, including setting the right print area, in this lesson.

Introduction

Video: Printing Workbooks

Launch "Printing Workbooks" video!Watch the video (3:47).

There may be times when you want to print a workbook to view and share your data offline. Once you've chosen your page layout settings, it's easy to preview and print a workbook from Excel using the Print pane.

Review our Page Layout lesson to learn more about preparing your workbook for printing.

Optional: Download our practice workbook.

To access the Print pane:

  1. Select the File tab. Backstage view will appear.


    Screenshot of ExcelClicking the File tab
  2. Select Print. The Print pane will appear.


    Screenshot of Excel 2013Clicking Print

Click the buttons in the interactive below to learn more about using the Print pane.

labeled graphic

Paper Size

If your printer uses different paper sizes, you can choose the paper size you want to use.

Page Orientation

Here, you can choose portrait or landscape orientation.

Collation Settings

If you are printing multiple copies, you can choose whether you want the copies collated or uncollated.

Printer

You may need to select the printer you want to use if your computer is connected to multiple printers.

One Side/Both Sides

Here you can choose whether to print on one side or both sides of the paper.

Print Range

Here, you can choose to print the active sheets, the entire workbook, or a selection of cells.

Print

When you are ready to print the workbook, click the Print button.

Scaling

Here, you can choose how to scale your worksheets for the printed page. You can scale worksheets at their actual size, fit the entire worksheet on one page, fit all columns on one page, or fit all rows on one page.

While scaling can sometimes be helpful for condensing a worksheet, note that the text will become more difficult to read as it is scaled down.

Margins

Here, you can adjust the page margins, which can help your data fit more comfortably on the page.

Page Selection

You can click the arrows to view a different page in Print Preview.

Show Margins/Zoom to Page

You can click the Zoom to Page button on the right to zoom in and out of the Preview pane.

You can click the Show Margins button on the left to show the margins in the Preview pane.

Preview Pane

Here, you can see a preview of how your worksheets will look when printed.

Copies

Here, you can choose how many copies of the workbook you want to print.

If you're planning to print multiple copies, it's a good idea to print a test copy first.

To print a workbook:

  1. Navigate to the Print pane, then select the desired printer.
  2. Enter the number of copies you wish to print.
  3. Select any additional settings if needed (see above interactive).
  4. Click Print.
    Screenshot of Excel 2013Printing a workbook

Choosing a print area

Before you print an Excel workbook, it's important to decide exactly what information you want to print. For example, if you have multiple worksheets in your workbook, you will need to decide if you want to print the entire workbook or only active worksheets. There may also be times when you want to print only a selection of content from your workbook.

To print active sheets:

Worksheets are considered active when selected.

  1. Select the worksheet you want to print. To print multiple worksheets, click the first worksheet, hold the Ctrl key on your keyboard, then click any other worksheets you want to select.
    Screenshot of Excel 2013Selecting multiple worksheets to print
  2. Navigate to the Print pane.
  3. Select Print Active Sheets from the Print Range drop-down menu.
    Screenshot of Excel 2013Printing active worksheets
  4. Click the Print button.
    Screenshot of Excel 2013Clicking the Print button

To print the entire workbook:

  1. Navigate to the Print pane.
  2. Select Print Entire Workbook from the Print Range drop-down menu.
    Screenshot of Excel 2013Printing the entire workbook
  3. Click the Print button.
    Screenshot of Excel 2013Clicking the Print button

To print a selection:

In our example, we'll print a selection of content related to upcoming softball games in July.

  1. Select the cells you want to print.
    Screenshot of Excel 2013Selecting a print area
  2. Navigate to the Print pane.
  3. Select Print Selection from the Print Range drop-down menu.
    Screenshot of Excel 2013Printing only the selected cells
  4. A preview of your selection will appear in the Preview pane.
    Screenshot of Excel 2013Viewing the selection in the Preview pane
  5. Click the Print button to print the selection.


    Screenshot of Excel 2013Clicking the Print button

If you prefer, you can also set the print area in advance so you'll be able to visualize which cells will be printed as you work in Excel. Simply select the cells you want to print, click the Page Layout tab, select the Print Area command, then choose Set Print Area.

Screenshot of Excel 2013Setting a print area

Fitting and scaling content

On occasion, you may need to make small adjustments from the Print pane to fit your workbook content neatly onto a printed page. The Print pane includes several tools to help fit and scale your content, such as scaling and page margins.

To fit content before printing:

If some of your content is being cut off by the printer, you can use scaling to fit your workbook to the page automatically.

  1. Navigate to the Print pane. In our example, we can see in the Preview pane that our content will be cut off when printed.
    Screenshot of Excel 2013Viewing a cut off worksheet in the Preview pane
  2. Select the desired option from the Scaling drop-down menu. In our example, we'll select Fit Sheet on One Page.
    Screenshot of Excel 2013Fitting a worksheet onto one page
  3. The worksheet will be condensed to fit onto a single page.
    Screenshot of Excel 2013The scaled worksheet
  4. When you're satisfied with the scaling, click Print.
    Screenshot of Excel 2013Clicking the Print button

Keep in mind that worksheets will become more difficult to read as they are scaled down, so you may not want to use this option when printing a worksheet with a lot of information.

To modify margins in the Preview pane:

Sometimes you may only need to adjust a single margin to make your data fit more comfortably. You can modify individual page margins from the Preview pane.

  1. Navigate to the Print pane, then click the Show Margins button in the lower-right corner.


    Screenshot of Excel 2013Showing the margins
  2. The page margins will appear in the Preview pane. Hover the mouse over one of the margin markers until the cursor becomes a double arrow . In our example, we'll modify the left margin to fit an additional column on the page.


    Screenshot of Excel 2013Hovering the mouse over a margin
  3. Click, hold, and drag the mouse to increase or decrease the margin width.
    Screenshot of Excel 2013Decreasing the margin width
  4. Release the mouse. The margin will be modified. In our example, we were able to fit an additional column on the page.


    Screenshot of Excel 2013The new margin width

Challenge!

  1. Open an existing Excel workbook. If you want, you can use our practice workbook.
  2. Try printing two active worksheets. If you are using the example, try printing the Player Info and Schedule worksheets.
  3. Try printing only a selection of cells. If you are using the example, try printing the upcoming games for the Bulls (cell range A12:E19).
  4. Try the scaling feature to condense your workbook content. If you are using the example, use scaling to make the worksheet fit onto a single page.
  5. Adjust the margins from the Preview pane.