When it comes time to print a spreadsheet, setting the print area is an essential part of the process for getting the necessary information on paper. If you configure the print area wrong in the printing options, it will result in unnecessary information, wasted papers and ink, and badly located page breaks.

A print area defines how much of your sheet (one or more cell ranges) will be printed when you don’t want to print the entire spreadsheet.

Printing a Google spreadsheet is way different than printing Excel sheets. Excel lets you configure other layout options including the print area as a permanent setting before printing the sheet, whereas Google sheets want you to adjust the layout options each time you print otherwise it will print in the default options.

Google Sheets is very flexible, it lets users choose between printing everything in the workbook, the current sheet, or selected cells. In this article, we will show you how to set Print Area in Google Sheets.

Setting Print Area for Selected Cells In Google Sheets

Suppose you have a contact list in a Google spreadsheet, it has columns of Name, address, and mobile numbers. And you only want to print the names on that list. So, by setting the Print Area to selected cells, you can only print a specific range of cells, like the column of Name.

When you print in Google Sheets, all the cells with data are printed. But if you only want to print a specific range of cells, you will need to set the print area for selected cells. Here’s how:

First, open the spreadsheet you want to print and select the range of cells, it can be column(s) or row(s). But it should continuous range of cells, if you select non-continuous ranges of cells, only the last selected range will be printed. We selected cell A1:A30. Then, click the ‘print icon’ at the toolbar or select the ‘Print’ option under the File menu.

Or you can also press CTRL + P to print.

The Print settings page will open up, with the preview of the printing sheet and printing options. On the right side, click on the ‘Print’ drop-down and choose ‘Selected cells’. When you change this, you will notice the preview changing to the selected cells.

Then, click ‘Next’ to choose the printer options and print. Your selected cells will be printed on one or more pages.

Setting Print Area for Current Sheet or Workbook in Google Sheets

You don’t need to set to print area for the current sheet, it is the default setting to printing the spreadsheet. The print area will be automatically set to the current sheet when you click the Print option from the menu. You just need to adjust the layout options if needed and make sure all data shows up correctly in the print preview. This will print the entire current worksheet.

To set the print area for the whole workbook, open the workbook and click ‘Print’ from the menu. In the ‘Print settings’ page, the default setting is set to print the current sheet. To change that, click on the ‘Print’ drop-down list and select ‘Workbook’. Then, click ‘Next’ to print.

This will print the entire workbook with multiple worksheets.

Setting Print Area in Google Sheets by Customizing Page Layout

Another way you can set the print area in a Google spreadsheet is by adjusting the page size, scale, and margins.

Changing Page Size

After you selected the Print option in your document, it will take you to Print settings. On the printer settings, click on the ‘Page size’ drop-down list and choose the size. The smaller the size, the fewer cells that will get printed on each page. This limits how much data will be shown on each page.

Changing Scale Settings

In the ‘Scale’ drop-down menu, choose the scale that will fit your needs.

  • Normal – This is the default setting
  • Fit to Width – This option makes all columns fit on the same page. This is a good option if you have more columns and few rows.
  • Fit to Height – This option makes all rows fit on the same page. This is a good option if you have more rows and few columns.
  • Fit to Page – This will make everything fit on one page. This is useful for smaller spreadsheets.
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Changing Margins

There are three options to change the margin setting. You can choose one from the drop-down.

  • Normal – This is the default option.
  • Narrow – This option makes the margins narrow which means fewer white spaces on each side. This will print fewer pages with more data on each page
  • Wide – This option makes the wider margins around the data on each page. This will display more empty space and less data on each page.

After you made changes to the settings, click ‘Next’ to choose the printer and print the pages.

Setting Print Area in Google Sheets by Customizing Page Breaks

Page breaks are automatically inserted in a long sheet/document to split the content between pages. When a page break is inserted, the following content will be moved to the beginning of the next page.

For instance, you have a worksheet with 200 rows of data. When you try to print that sheet, it is set to print to let’s say 30 rows per page, but you only want 25 rows on each page. With page breaks, you can specify where each page of a sheet should begin and end without having to manually select the range of cells as we did before.

To insert manual page breaks, click ‘SET CUSTOM PAGE BREAKS’ on the print settings screen.

As you can see the default page break is at row 30 in the sheet.

Here, you can drag the blue line where you want to place the page break and split the page. This will affect the entire sheet, now each page will only have 25 rows. This is how we set the print area by adjusting page breaks.

Once you changed the page break position, click ‘CONFIRM BREAKS’ to save your selection and print the sheet.

How to Print the Header Row(s) on Each Page in Google Sheets

Another small way you can control the print area is by printing header rows on each page. This won’t impact your print area much, but having headers on all pages helps you better understand the data.

To do that, open the worksheet, click the ‘View’ menu from the top and select the ‘Freeze’ option. Then choose how many rows or columns you want to freeze from the list. Since, we only want to freeze the header row, select ‘1 row’.

Now, the frozen header row will appear on every printed page.

Once you did that, click the print icon to see how it looks on the print preview window. Then, click ‘Next’ to print. 

That is all.