Printing: Printing only part of the sheet

One of the things I do in my regular job involves generating statistics to go in tables to go in reports. Quite frequently I end up doing multiple layers of synthesis: I’ll do one, then use the results of that to do another. However, I only need the final results for the report, not all the in-between steps. If all the steps are on the same page, though, if you don’t do anything in particular then they’ll all get printed together.

One obvious solution is to put the final results in a separate worksheet. Normally I would highly commend this method of dealing with the issue, but since my report spreadsheet already has over 20 worksheets adding more just makes it harder to navigate.

Another possible solution is to move all of the unwanted data down and/or to the right, so that only the parts you want to print would naturally fall on the first page. Then you can tell the program to just print page 1 of that worksheet. However, anything you do to the worksheet after that (adding/removing columns/rows, changing font size, adding notes or a new intermediary table) could potentially mess it up, so you have to be careful from then on.

There’s also a third solution: define the area to be printed. When you define the “print area” for a worksheet, only the cells in that area will be printed, with the exception of repeating headers if you’ve defined any.

There are a few things that are true across most programs.

  • Your “print area” can be any size from one cell to the entire worksheet.
  • You can only have one print area per worksheet.
  • Your print area must be contiguous – all the cells in it must touch each other.
  • Once you set your print area, it would be outlined by the same style of border that’s used to mark your page breaks, or the edges of your page after you’ve previewed how the printout will look. The cells that won’t be printed may be greyed out in some way.
  • Unless otherwise specified, you can remove the print area restriction in the same menu that you set it in.

Beyond those commonalities, every program has its own way of doing this.

In Excel 97:

  1. Select the cells that you want printed.
  2. Click on the header for the File menu or type alt-f.
  3. In the menu that opens, click on “Print Area” or type t.
  4. In the menu that opens, click on “Set Print Area” or type s.

In Excel 2007:

See Excel 2010.

In Excel 2010:

  1. Select the cells you want printed.
  2. Click on the “Page Layout” tab or type alt-p.
  3. Locate the “Page Setup” group, and click on “Print Area”. It doesn’t matter if you click on the picture or the arrow below it.
  4. In the menu that appears, click on “Set print area” or type s.
  5. Halfway down the “Page” tab, there’s a section for scaling. You can use the options there to shrink or expand the printout, either by changing the percentage or by specifying how many pages tall and how many pages wide the printout should be.

In Google Spreadsheet:

Google Spreadsheet does not seem to allow you to define print areas, but it does allow you to just print the cells you’ve selected. It’s more tedious because you have to do it every time you print, but if you’re only going to print it once it’s pretty much the same effort.

  1. Select the cells you want to print.
  2. Click on the “File” header, then on “Print” OR click on the printer icon OR type ctrl-p.
  3. In the window that appears, in the Options section near the top, on the left, change it from “Current sheet” to “selection”.
  4. Click “OK”.

In OpenOffice Calc:

  1. Select the cells you want printed.
  2. Click on the “Format” header or type alt-o.
  3. Click on “Print Ranges” or type n.
  4. Click on “Define” or type d.

In Microsoft Works Spreadsheet:

See Excel 97.