Printing Selected Cells by Default

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated April 1, 2017)

When Ryno clicks the Print tool on the Home tab of the ribbon, Excel dutifully prints the active worksheet. However, he prefers to have it print his selected cells. He wonders if there is a way to have Excel print just the selected cells, by default.

In reality, Excel doesn't include a Print tool on the Home tab of the ribbon. Normally you'll need to click the File tab of the ribbon and choose Print or, in Excel 2007, click the Office button and then choose Print. I suspect that what Ryno is seeing is the Quick Print tool, which is actually part of the Quick Access Toolbar. You can control the display of this tool by clicking the down-arrow at the right side of the QAT. (If you hover the mouse pointer over this you'll see the words "Customize Quick Access Toolbar" appear.) Excel displays some options. (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1. Customizing the Quick Access Toolbar.

Note the option titled Quick Print. If this is selected, then there is a tool on the QAT that you can use to print.

Interestingly enough, the Quick Print tool pretty much ignores the settings you may have previously used to print. For instance, I used Ctrl+P to display the print settings and specified that only the selected cells should be printed. When I printed, that is what I got. However, when I then clicked the Quick Print tool, the entire worksheet printed. When I again pressed Ctrl+P, the settings there still showed that I wanted to print only the selected cells, even though Quick Print had just gotten through printing the entire worksheet.

It appears that this tool is designed to only print the entire current worksheet; it ignores any other print settings you may have previously made in your Excel session. And therein lies the apparent genesis of Ryno's request—he would like the Quick Print tool to print the selected cells, by default.

There is only one way we've been able to find to directly modify how the Quick Print tool works. This involves setting a print area for the worksheet. You can do this by following these steps:

  1. Select whatever cells you want to print.
  2. Display the Page Layout tab of the ribbon.
  3. Click the Print Area tool. Excel displays two options.
  4. Choose the Set Print Area option.

Now, whenever you print in this worksheet—even when you are using the Quick Print tool—Excel limits what is printed to the specified print area.

If you truly want a tool that will print whatever you have selected at the time that you use it, you'll need to create a macro. The macro doesn't need to be complex; here's a quick example:

Sub MyPrintSelection
    Selection.PrintOut Copies:=1, Collate:=True
End Sub

If you assign this macro to the Quick Access Toolbar, you'll have an easy-to-use tool that prints whatever is selected. You could even associate a shortcut key with the macro so that you could print the selection by invoking the shortcut.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (188) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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