How to Set Print Area in Google Sheets – Video tutorial:
Setting the print area in Google Sheets is an important part of transferring spreadsheet information in an office.
An incorrectly configured Google Sheets print area can result in poorly located page breaks and wasted paper.
If you’re coming over from Microsoft Excel, you might find how Google Sheets handles setting the print area confusing. These two spreadsheet tools handle this task in very different ways.
In Excel, you define a print area under the layout menu before printing content as a permanent setting, whereas Google Sheets manages the print area each time you print.
The Google Sheets printing process is relatively straightforward. However, Google Sheets does not include a “permanent” print area setting. Instead, you must define the print area each time you print in Google Sheets.
So, how do you set the print area in Google Sheets? The following processes explain how to set the print area in Google Sheets and configure how the print area displays on paper.
How to Set Print Area in Google Sheets for a Range
If you’re trying to set the print areas in Google Sheets, you probably are trying to avoid using excessive amounts of paper to show a narrowed information selection.
The important takeaway from configuring the Google Sheet print area is you need to do it every time you print.
We’ll be using a spreadsheet with user information for this tutorial. These are the first 20 references of the spreadsheet:
The following steps explain how to set the print area in Sheets.
- Highlight the area you want to print. In the example below, I’ve selected the first 10 lines and the header row for a range of A1:F11. This sets the print area.
- Next, open the “Print Settings” menu. You can do this by clicking the File menu then Print option (first image), clicking the printer icon from the sub-menu (second image), or pressing the “Ctrl+P”(“CMD+P” on Mac) keyboard shortcut.
- Click on the “Print Settings” menu option that says “Current Sheet”
- Choose the “Selected Cells” option. The print preview window will change the print area from the entire spreadsheet to just what you selected in a previous step.
- Check the preview to make sure you’ve highlighted the correct range. This is what the preview looks like in the example:
- Hit “Next” and use your operating system’s print management program to send it to the printer. Usually, this just involves selecting the desired printer and hitting the “Print” button, but you may need to change things like color settings here.
For example, on this Windows 10 system, I’ve selected to print the spreadsheet from the “HP ENVY Photo 7100” destination.
After following these steps, you’ll soon have a physical printed copy of your spreadsheet. You can also add and print labels on your Google Sheet.
You can also print using the print icon which is in the toolbar or using the keyboard shortcut ctrl +P
How to Set the Print Area to Print Everything on the Sheet
If you want to set the print area to include the entire spreadsheet, it’s actually less work. Follow these steps to print everything.
- Open “Print Settings” by selecting “File” then “Print”, clicking the printer icon, or by keyboard shortcut (Ctrl+P or CMD+P). The example shows the printer icon.
- Check the “Print” menu option. If it says “Current Sheet” leave it alone as this is the default setting. Otherwise, click on it and select “Current Sheet.” You can view if it is the correct sheet in the print settings window.
- Hit “Next” and use your operating system’s print management program to send it to the printer.
How to Use Named Ranges As Print Areas
In cases where you have a large data range, it might be cumbersome to select the entire data set. Instead, you can use the named ranges as print areas.
To do that, here’s what you will need to do:
- Go to Data > Named ranges
- Click Add a range in the named range window.
- Give your range a name and type in the range of the data you want to print. Make sure to use a hyphen, an underscore, or no spaces between the words otherwise, you will get a prompt saying, “The specified range name is not valid”
- Click Done, and now you have a named range. You can add as many named ranges as you want.
Now you don’t have to select when you want to print your data. Just click the name range, which will automatically select the specified data range, and then go to print.
How to Adjust Google Sheet Print Settings
When you select Print you will be taken to the print settings window. On this page, you can change different print settings such as page size, page orientation, scale, and much more.
The printing options that you can adjust include:
Print– this is used for setting the print area in Google Sheets. You can choose to print the entire sheet or have Google Sheets print selected cells only.
Paper size– this lets you pick the size of paper that you want to print on. It also lets you add custom height and width
Page orientation– This lets you adjust the print layout or the direction in which the sheet is facing. There are only two options, landscape (horizontal) and portrait (vertical). This does not affect the content of the sheet or document.
Scale– This lets you adjust the size of the print or how the content fits on the paper. This is useful to prevent Google Sheets from printing too small.
Margins– This lets you change the size of the margins. There are preset options as well as an option to add custom values.
Formatting– This option lets you show or remove grid lines and notes. It also has alignment options that let you adjust the position of the content on the paper, either vertically or horizontally.
Headers & Footers– This lets you adjust header and footer settings such as showing or emitting dates, titles, page numbers, and freezing row or column headers.
The Google spreadsheet print preview on this page will constantly update with the changes you are making so that you can see and keep track of your adjustments.
How to Print the Header Row(s) on Each Page
You can set Google Sheets to print header rows on each page to help contextualize cell values. In many cases, it’s easy enough to know what you’re looking at, but having headers on all pages is generally a better experience, especially if you’re going to be looking at pages individually.
- Click the “View” menu and select the “Freeze” option. Then choose your header dimensions from the options list. In most cases, you’re going to be using “1 row.”
The printed spreadsheet will now feature the frozen header row on top of the data on each page.
You also have the option to repeat or not repeat frozen rows and columns in the print settings window.
How to Adjust the Scale and Margin to Fit
Your work isn’t always done after setting the print range. Sometimes Google Sheets will default to a printing configuration within the preset range that has awful experience on paper.
If the preview image is creating page breaks at undesirable, awkward places, you can use the “Scale” and “Margin” settings to fine-tune how your printed range appears on the page.
- Normal: This is the default setting. It is fine for most use cases.
- Fit to Height: This compresses the cells to fit all rows on a single page. This is useful for printing data with a large number of columns, but few rows.
- Fit to Width: This setting compresses the cells to fit all columns on a single page. This is useful for printing data with a large number of rows, but few columns.
- Fit to Page: This setting will fit the entire selected range on a single page. It is useful for smaller selected data ranges.
- Normal: This is the default setting. It is fine for most use cases.
- Narrow: This setting will use more paper real estate on each page. This setting results in fewer printed pages with more data on each page.
- Wide: This setting creates more whitespace around the data on each page. It can display fewer columns and rows on each page.
Note: You can also switch between landscape and portrait page orientation to better fit your selected data as well.
How to Set Custom Page Breaks in Google Sheets
Google Sheets has the capability to set the print area on a page-by-page basis. This can be very helpful for data curation. For example, you may want to show 20 rows worth of data a page from a spreadsheet with 100 lines, but Sheets defaults to showing 23 rows per page. You can adjust Sheets to use page breakpoints that make more sense. 1073
- From the “Print Settings” screen, select “Set Custom Page Breaks.”
- Drag the dotted lines to the locations where you want specific pages to start and end.
- The example shows moving the page break from line 32 to 21.
- Click “Confirm Page Breaks” to save your selection.
Your printed version will now have specifically defined printed areas on a page-by-page basis.
These processes demonstrate how to set the print areas in Google Sheets and manage common configuration options.
How to print a Google Sheet from a mobile app
It is also possible to print from your Android or Iphone in the Google Sheets app. This process is slightly different from how to print on the web browser version.
Here’s how to print Google Sheet documents from the mobile app:
- Open your app and hold the sheet you want to print
- A menu will appear. Go to Print
You can also access the print option in the open spreadsheet by tapping the three-dot menu icon, then Share and export.
- On the print page, you can change the paper size and the number of copies you want. Tap Select a printer to choose the device you want to print with.
- Your phone will search for printers that are online near you.
- Select the printer, then tap Print.
This article showed you how to set print area in Google Sheets. This feature is an example of something that works differently from other popular spreadsheet programs.
I hope you found this tutorial useful! You can read more on the best printers to use.
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Sumit is a Google Sheets and Microsoft Excel Expert. He provides spreadsheet training to corporates and has been awarded the prestigious Excel MVP award by Microsoft for his contributions in sharing his Excel knowledge and helping people.