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How to Print Areas, Ranges or Full Google Spreadsheets

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Difficulty:IntermediateLength:MediumLanguages:
This post is part of a series called How to Use Google Sheets (Essential Tutorial Guide).
How to Quickly Collaborate on Edits in Google Sheets (Online)
How to Use Google Sheets to Make Your First Spreadsheet

Spreadsheets are often used for analysis and presenting data. This includes preparing reports with calculations and data that you might print and present to management and team members. 

When it comes time to print a spreadsheet, it takes work to get it right. If you don't know how to set the options, you're likely to print too much data, wasting paper and ink. It's important to set the print range and tweak settings to get it right the first time.

In this tutorial, I'm going to help you learn how to print Google spreadsheets that you build in Google Sheets. Let's get started.

How to Print in Google Sheets

Watch & Learn

Check out the screencast below to follow my complete guide to printing in Google Sheets. We'll cover three key skills that will help you print data in Google Sheets:

  1. How to print entire Google spreadsheets and workbooks.
  2. How to print specific ranges or sets of data in a Sheet.
  3. How to adjust print settings to include specific settings like page size, margins, and more.
 

Now, let's dive into a guided walkthrough for printing in Google Docs (including Sheets.) You can use these tips even if you're preparing a PDF version of the spreadsheet. I'll show you all of these skills in an illustrated guide.

How to Print an Entire Google Sheet

Let's start off by learning to print the entire workbook or spreadsheet. With your Google Sheet already open, go to the File > Print menu to launch the Sheets printing menu. 

When you choose that option, Sheets will open a new window on top of your active spreadsheet to set the print options.

First up, set the part of the spreadsheet that you want to print. For this portion of the tutorial, let's focus on two paths: printing the entire sheet, or printing the entire workbook. 

Remember that all spreadsheet apps group multiple spreadsheets into a workbook, and you can choose between printing the two on the menu as you can see below in the Print dropdown.

Printing options for Google Sheets
After you go to the File > Print menu, you can choose between printing the current sheet, or the entire workbook from the Print dropdown.

On the right side, start by choosing the dropdown option to choose between printing the active spreadsheet and the entire workbook. Make sure to set this option before proceeding with printing.

Choose what to print
Click on the Print dropdown and choose between Current Sheet or Workbook for this section of the tutorial.

If you only want to print a single sheet, start by selecting the sheet that you want to print and choose File > Print. Then, change the dropdown setting to Current Sheet instead of Workbook.

For every spreadsheet that you print, it's important to set a few key options to ensure that you don't end up with bad paper copies of your spreadsheet.

The first of these is landscape versus portrait, which controls how your spreadsheet will print. The landscape setting will set your spreadsheet to print on paper in "wide" format, with the spreadsheet longer than it is tall. This often works well for spreadsheets, as data runs left to right in columns.

Portrait orientation might be the right option if your data has many rows and fewer columns.

Landscape and portrait mode in Google Docs
On the left, you can see that more columns fit on the page thanks to the landscape orientation, while the portrait orientation on the right shows more rows.

One of my favorite settings to adjust on the print menu is the Fit to Width option. This will ensure that all of your data will fit on the width of your spreadsheet, not exceeding the width of the paper.

Then, just send your finished data onto the printer by clicking Next and choosing the printer.

Fit to width
Turning on the Fit to width option on the Scale dropdown will ensure that all columns fit on a single spreadsheet.

Don't want to print out the entire spreadsheet or workbook? Read on to find out how to print specific areas.

How to Set the Google Sheets Print Area

It's more likely that you won't print the entire spreadsheet or workbook each time, particularly in complex spreadsheets. In that case, you'll want to print an area of the spreadsheet so that you can focus on specific data.

Setting a range as the Google Sheets print area is simple enough. Start off by highlighting the specific parts of the spreadsheet that you want to print, and then return to the File > Print menu.

The key option to change here is the Print dropdown, which you'll want to set to Selected Cells. Sheets also shows the cell references for the portion that you'll print, so double check that you've selected the exact cells you want to print.

Print Selected Cells Example
Start by highlighting the cells that you want to print, and then choosing Selected cells from the dropdown option.

Many of the settings that we covered above will apply to printing an area as well. Make sure that you decide between landscape and portrait orientation, for example when you want to flip the orientation of your data.

That's it! You can see here how easy it is to send your spreadsheets to the printer. Let's find out about a few more advanced options for printing.

How to Change Print Options in Sheets

While we've already covered some basic print settings like orientation and Google Sheets print area, there are other tweaks that you can make to control how your spreadsheet prints. Let's take a look at those key options.

1. Adjust Margins

The paper margins control how much space there is between your data and the edge of the paper. You can make the margins wider to put more space between data and the edge, or tighter to place the data closer to the edge.

This feature is really handy when you can almost fit all of your data on a single printed sheet, but might have a single column cut off.

In the Margins dropdown, choose an option like Narrow to set the margins tighter, or Wide for wider margins. This can really help you create enough space for your data when you need it the most.

Adjust margins for printing
Change the Margins dropdown to create more space for printing data, closer to the edge of the paper.

2. Change Paper Size

The most common paper size is letter paper, which is 8.5 x 11 inches. It's no surprise that Sheets defaults to printing in that size, but there are plenty of options

When you're printing large spreadsheets, it might be a good idea to switch to a larger format of paper. You can choose other common paper sizes like Legal from the Paper Size dropdown on the right side. Just make sure that your printer is stocked with the proper paper size before you send it!

Standard versus Legal Paper Sizes
In this screenshot, you can see the difference between printing to standard sized paper, and legal paper which allows for more room in the data.

3. Add Headers & Footers

A header or footer is the text that prints on each and every page. If you use Sheets to compile reports that you deliver to an audience, having key data repeat in the header and footer can help make it easier to navigate your printed version.

Open up the Headers & Footers option on the right side of Sheets to open up this section, where you can add data to the header and footer of each sheet.

The helpful part of these options is that you can easily apply them to each and every Sheet with just a single click.

Adding Headers and Footers
On the Headers & footers options, you can toggle on options to print on every page, like page numbers, the workbook title, sheet name, and current date and time.

4. Print Gridlines

While gridlines are usually reserved for viewing a spreadsheet on-screen, you can actually print them easily. In the same print options, open up the Formatting section and tick or untick the Show Gridlines option.

Keep in mind that if you print gridlines, you're going to use significantly more ink as you print your Google spreadsheet. It might be a better idea to put borders around only the data that you want to show with bounding lines, instead of printing all of the gridlines in the spreadsheet.

Printing Gridlines in Sheets
Print gridlines by turning on the option from the Formatting option dropdown.

Recap & Keep Learning

In this tutorial, we covered a key skill: printing your spreadsheets in Google Docs. Getting those reports ready to share with your colleagues by printing the finished version of a spreadsheet can help you present your data perfectly.

To learn more about how to use Google Sheets to analyze and work with data, check out the tutorials below:

How do you approach printing your Google Sheets? Share a favorite tip in the comments section below this post, or let me know if you've got any questions on how to print.

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