Microsoft Excel spreadsheets may contain confidential financial or personal data that you want to record but would prefer not to appear in printed hard copies of the document. Excel lets you specify the cells that can print by selecting a portion of the spreadsheet to include in the print area. Any cells outside the selected print area won't print when you print out a hard copy of the document, so use this tool to prevent specific cells or cell ranges from printing.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Open the spreadsheet that you want to configure for printing in Microsoft Excel. Highlight and select the cells that you do want to print by clicking the first cell in the range and dragging the mouse cursor to the last cell in the range. To select non-adjacent cells, select the first individual cell or range of cells, and then press and hold the "Ctrl" key on your computer keyboard while you highlight and select other cells or cell ranges. Remember to exclude the cells that you don't want to print.
Click the "Page Layout" tab in the top menu bar, and then press the "Print Area" button in the Page Setup tools group. Choose the "Set Print Area" option from the pull-down menu. Click "View" in the main menu, and then select "Page Break View" to see how the spreadsheet will appear when you print it. This allows you to check that you have excluded all the cells you don't want to print from the print area. Follow the next step if you want to add extra cells to the existing print area.
Highlight and select the extra cells that you want to include in the print area. Click "Page Layout," "Print Area" and then the "Add to Print Area" menu option. Again, use the Page Break Preview tool to check that you've excluded the correct cells from the print area.
Tips and warnings
- Excel offers other methods for protecting your spreadsheet, including encrypting it with a password and preventing other users from editing the data in the document. Click the "File" tab in the main menu followed by "Info" and "Protect Workbook" to configure access permissions and set a password.
- The information in this article applies to Microsoft Office Excel 2013. It may vary slightly or significantly with other versions of Excel.
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