7 Ways to Print Gridlines in Microsoft Excel

Do you want to print the gridlines in your Excel reports? This post is going to teach you exactly how to show the default gridlines when you print in Excel.

Printing your Excel reports is a very common activity.

But when you try to print your Excel document, you will not see any of the light gray gridlines that appear in your sheets. This is because the default print settings will exclude them.

What if you want to include these gridlines on the printouts? This can help the reader to differentiate between separate pieces of data.

You can change this setting so the gridlines do appear in any printed items whether it’s printing to paper or PDF files.

Follow this guide to learn how to include the gridlines in your printed Excel reports.

Default Print Settings for Gridlines

Suppose you want to print some data from your Excel sheet that looks like the above example.

You will notice the light gray lines between all the cells of the data. These are the default gridlines shown in an Excel workbook and help to visually separate the data.

When you try to print this data, you will get a result that looks like the above screenshot. It doesn’t show any of the light gray lines between the cells of your data.

This makes it hard to tell apart the different rows and columns of the data set. So you may want to include the gridlines when printing anything in Excel.

Print Gridlines with the Page Layout Tab

The most direct method to add the gridlines to your printed Excel reports is through the Sheet Options found in the Page Layout tab of the ribbon.

Follow these steps to add gridlines to your printouts using the Sheet Options in the Page Layout tab.

  1. Go to the Page Layout tab in the ribbon.
  2. Check the Print option under the Gridlines heading in the Sheet Options section.

This will ensure the gridlines are included when you want to print anything on the sheet.

📝 Note: This is a sheet level setting, so will only apply to the active sheet when you change the setting. You will need to update this setting for each sheet you want to include gridlines on when printing.

The data on your sheet is now ready to print with the gridlines and you can print the page by going to the File tab and choosing the Print option or using the Ctrl + P keyboard shortcut to open the Print menu.

When you now try to print your dataset, the result will look like the above example and you will see the gridlines are included.

Print Gridlines with the Page Setup Menu

Another method that you can use to enable the gridlines to print in your documents is by using the Page Setup menu.

You can open the Page Setup menu from the Page Layout tab in the ribbon.

  1. Go to the Page Layout tab.
  2. Click on the Launch icon in the Sheet Options section.

💡 Tip: Some sections of the ribbon have a Launch button in the lower right corner. This will open a larger menu with more options than are available in the ribbon. For example, this Launch icon will open the Page Setup menu.

This will open the Page Setup menu where you will be able to add gridlines to the print output for the active sheet.

This menu also contains many other useful printing options such as adding repeating titles, printing comments, or adding row and column headings.

  1. Go to the Sheet tab in the Page Setup menu.
  2. Check the Gridlines option under the Print section.
  3. Press the OK button.

Your sheet will now be ready to print with the gridlines!

💡 Tip: You can skip the OK button and click on either the Print or Print Preview button from the Page Setup menu if you’re ready to print your document! These will both take you to the same Print Preview area found in the File tab ➜ Print menu.

Print Gridlines with the Print Preview

This method is another way that you can access the Page Setup menu to enable the Gridline print options. This menu can also be opened from the Print Preview menu.

Follow these steps to show the gridlines in the Print Preview menu.

  1. Go to the File tab in the ribbon.

This will open the backstage area of Excel.

  1. Click on the Print options.
  2. Click on the Page Setup link at the bottom of the main print settings.

💡 Tip: Press Ctrl + P to go directly to the Print menu in the backstage File menu.

This will open the Page Setup menu.

  1. Go to the Sheets tab of the Page Setup menu.
  2. Enable the Gridlines option.
  3. Press the OK button.

Your gridlines will now show in your printouts.

Print Gridlines with the Draft Quality Option

If you have enabled the Gridlines option but are still not seeing the gridlines in your printouts, it might be because you have enabled the Draft quality option in the Page Setup menu.

Make sure the Draft quality option is unchecked.

📝 Note: Printing with Draft quality will remove any gridlines as well as other objects layered above the grid such as charts, shapes, icons, and images.

Print All Gridlines

One thing you might notice with the previous methods is only some of the gridlines will appear in your printouts.

The above example only shows the gridlines in the print preview up to the last cell of the data and the remainder of the page is blank.

📝 Note: The gridlines in your printing will only appear up to the last used cell in the sheet.

There are no options in the print settings to show all the gridlines, but there is a quick and painless fix to this.

Go to the sheet you want to print and it will have the print page lines after viewing the Print Preview menu. Scroll down to the last cell on the page you want to print and add a space character to this cell.

This will change the last used cell to the last cell in the page and cause the full page to show gridlines when printing. Because you are using a space character, nothing will be visible in this cell on the printout!

Print Gridlines with the Cell Borders

Instead of printing gridlines, you might want to use cell border format to create your own gridlines. This way you won’t need to enable any setting to print them.

Any border format applied will always show up in the printed version of your sheet.

This will allow you to customize the color, thickness, and style of the gridlines that are printed and also allow you to choose the exact areas that do or don’t have gridlines in the report.

You can add borders to any area in your sheet.

  1. Select the range to apply borders.
  2. Go to the Home tab.
  3. Click on the Border icon.
  4. Select a style such as All Borders.

This will apply a border around each cell in the selected area, but you can find more border options by opening the Format Cells menu.

  • Choose the More Borders option from the Home tab.
  • Press the Ctrl + 1 keyboard shortcut.
  • Right click and choose Format Cells.

You will be able to customize the exact look of your printouts using the border options instead of the default gridlines.

Print Gridlines with VBA

Enabling the option to show gridlines in your printed Excel reports is sheet level setting. This means if you want to print your entire workbook with gridlines, then you will need to enable the option on each sheet.

If your workbook has a lot of sheets that will be a tedious process.

Thankfully, you can automate this and quickly turn on or off the gridline setting across all the sheets using some VBA code.

Sub ChangeGridlineColor()
For Each sheet In Worksheets
    sheet.Activate
    ActiveSheet.PageSetup.PrintGridlines = True
Next sheet
End Sub

Press Alt + F11 to open the VBA code editor. Go to the Insert tab of the editor and select the Module option.

You can then copy and paste the above code into the new module.

This code will loop through all the sheets in your workbook and turn on Gridline setting for each sheet.

You can run this VBA code and the print gridline setting will be enabled for the whole workbook.

You can adjust this code to disable the gridline printing as well. just change the True to False in the above code.

Conclusions

Printing your Excel reports is a common task and you might want to include the gridlines to help visually separate the data.

This option is available for each sheet but can be hard to find. You can access this in the Page Layout tab and the Page Setup menu.

The Page Layout tab is the easier option, but it is still worth knowing about the Page Setup menu as it contains many other useful settings.

You will need to apply the gridline setting for each sheet, but you can use a simple bit of VBA code to quickly turn toggle the gridline setting on all sheets in your workbook.

Do you print the gridlines in your workbooks? Let me know in the comments below!

About the Author

John MacDougall

John MacDougall

John is a Microsoft MVP and qualified actuary with over 15 years of experience. He has worked in a variety of industries, including insurance, ad tech, and most recently Power Platform consulting. He is a keen problem solver and has a passion for using technology to make businesses more efficient.

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