How to set print area in Google Sheets

Using a desktop-class browser, you can adjust many Google Sheets printing settings. The Android and iOS Google Sheets apps also lets you print.

(left) Screenshot of an Example Google Sheet with 5 rows and 4 columns selected, with a hand-drawn arrow from this rectangle pointing to a drawing of a printer (on the right).

Illustration: Andy Wolber / TechRepublic

Google Sheets gives you considerable control over how your pages print. You can choose to print everything in your workbook, your current sheet, or a selected set of cells. The system also allows you to adjust many layout, scaling, and formatting options.

Print settings in Google Sheets display after you select File | Print in a Sheet from a desktop-class web browser. You adjust print settings options in Sheets after, not before, you choose the Print menu option. This sequence differs from both Google Docs and Google Slides, which provide a File | Page setup option, and Google Drawings, with File | Print settings and preview.

You also may print a Sheet from within the Google Sheets mobile apps on either Android or iOS. However, when you print from the Google Sheets mobile app, you have access to fewer settings and controls than you do when you print a Google Sheet from a desktop-class browser.

Before you perform any of the steps below, first open your Google Sheet on your device (e.g., either your browser or the Google Sheets mobile app). Also know that if you are a commenter or viewer of a Sheet, you might not be able to print, download, or copy the Sheet, since a Sheet owner or editor has the option to disable these features. For more details on Sheet sharing controls, see How to share Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides.

SEE: Google Sheets: Tips every user should master (TechRepublic)

How to adjust Google Sheet print settings in a browser

In a desktop-class browser, such as Chrome, Firefox, or Safari (including Safari on iPadOS), you may adjust several print options. 

Note: If you wish to print one or more rows and/or columns repeatedly on each page, choose View | Freeze, then select the respective rows and/or columns before you proceed to print below. You will find the Repeat Frozen Rows and Repeat Frozen Columns options in the Headers & Footers section in step 3 below.

1. To print a specific portion of your Sheet, select the cells you want to print (e.g., click-and-hold your cursor in one corner cell of your desired print area, then drag to select adjacent cells) as shown in Figure A. If you want to print either the entire Workbook or current Sheet, you continue to the next next step.

Figure A

Screenshot of Sheet with rectangular area of cells selected.

To print only a portion of your Sheet, select the cells you wish to print. Then choose File | Print, or select the printer icon in the menu bar, or press Ctrl+P.

2. Choose File | Print. Alternatively, you may either press Ctrl+P or select the printer icon displayed below the menus, to the right of the Redo right arrow.

3. On the print preview screen you may adjust the following items:

  • Print Area (current sheet, workbook, or selected cells)
  • Paper Size (choose from a variety of preset sizes, or enter a custom size)
  • Page Orientation (landscape or portrait)
  • Scale (fit to width, height, page, or enter a custom percentage)
  • Margins (normal, narrow, wide, or enter a custom size)
  • Page Breaks 
  • Formatting (gridlines, notes, adjust page order, choose horizontal—center, left, right— and/or vertical—top, middle, bottom—alignment options)
  • Headers & Footers (page numbers, title, name, date, time, among other items)

SEE: 10 free alternatives to Microsoft Word and Excel (TechRepublic download)

As you adjust each setting, the display adjusts to reflect your selected options. Change as many of the settings above until the print preview matches the output you desire (Figure B).

Figure B

Screenshot of Chrome browser with Google Sheet print setting preview page, with settings to the right.

Adjust as many print settings as desired. As you make changes, the print preview adjusts to reflect your modifications.

4. Select Next (in the upper-right).

5. Modify any of the following options:

  • Destination (select a printer, or choose Save as PDF or Save to Google Drive as PDF)
  • Pages (all, or specify specific pages to print) 
  • Pages per sheet (choose 1, 2, 4, 6, 9, or 16)

6. Either select Print or Save, depending on your options and system (Figure C). In some circumstances, you might save your Sheet as a PDF first, then open your PDF and print it.

Figure C

Screenshot of Sheet, with Save to Google Drive option displayed, and only the first page of the Sheet selected to print.

You may select which pages print, and make other adjustments on the final screen before you print. Note that the Print sequence also allows you to save a Sheet to a PDF or to Google Drive (as shown).

How to print a Google Sheet from a mobile app

You may print from the Google Sheets mobile app on either Android or iOS.

1. On Android, tap the three-vertical dot menu in the upper-right. On iOS, tap the three-horizontal dot menu in the upper-right (Figure D). 

2. Tap Share & Export.

3. Tap Print.

4. After that, select your printer and adjust the number of copies. Depending on your platform and/or printer, you may adjust additional options. For example, on Android, tap the down arrow to adjust options. These might include paper size, paper orientation, specific pages to print, color or black and white, as well as one or two-sided printing.

Figure D

(left) Three dot menu in upper right, (mid-left) Share & export menu item, (mid-right) Print menu item, (right top) tap down arrow for more options, (right bottom) additional page layout and print options.

To print from Google Sheets on Android, tap the three-dot menu in the upper-right, tap Share & Export, tap Print. The sequence is similar in Sheets on iOS. Google Sheets on Android also offers additional options you may adjust, as shown on the right.

What's your experience?

If you use Google Sheets, what circumstances prompt you to print a Google Sheet, instead of share access to it or save the Sheet as a PDF? When you print a Sheet, do you print most often from a desktop-class browser or one of the Google Sheets mobile apps? Let me know your Sheets printing preferences, either in the comments below or on Twitter (@awolber).

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