How to set margins in Excel

Written by stephen byron cooper Google
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How to set margins in Excel
Set margins as part of the printer setup in Microsoft Excel. (Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

A Microsoft Excel worksheet doesn't display margins by default. The program adds borders around the work area and labels along the left and top of the cells in the sheet, but these are not traditional margins. The only time you will need to deal with margins in Excel is when you come to print out the worksheet. The margins appear on the printed page rather than in the worksheet.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Prepare the Excel worksheet you want to print. Although you can extend the spreadsheet to include thousands of columns, they won’t all print out on the same page. If the width of your spreadsheet extends over the page columns to the right of the page, the additional columns print on the next page. Widening margins limits the number of columns that fit on the page. With the default margin width of 1.8 cm (0.7 inches) to the left and right of the document you can go as far as column "I" in portrait and "N" in landscape mode.

  2. 2

    Click the Office button in the top left corner of the Excel window. Hover over “Print” to get a second menu with print options. Select “Print Preview” on this second list to open the Print Preview screen.

  3. 3

    Click the red “X” button to close Print Preview and return to the spreadsheet. Excel displays dotted lines forming a grid over the spreadsheet to indicate the edge of the pages when you print the spreadsheet.

  4. 4

    Click the Office button again and go back to the Print Preview screen. Click the “Page Setup” button at the top of the window to open the Page Setup dialog window. Click the “Margins” tab.

  5. 5

    Increase or decrease the four margins and the header and footer by clicking on the up and down arrows next to each margin. The diagram in the centre of the screen highlights the selected margin. You can also click in each box and type in numbers for the new dimensions.

  6. 6

    Click on the “OK” button to close the dialog window. Alternatively, click the “Page” tab to change the orientation of the page before clicking the “OK” button. Excel returns to the Print Preview screen so you can view the effects of the margin alterations.

  7. 7

    Click on the red “X” button to return to the worksheet or click the “Print” button to continue the print process. Return to the Print Preview screen by pressing the “Preview” button in the bottom right corner of the Print dialog window.

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