Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Excel in Microsoft 365, and 2021. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: Setting Default Print Margins.

Setting Default Print Margins

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated May 4, 2024)
This tip applies to Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Excel in Microsoft 365, and 2021


When you first start Excel, the blank workbook that is opened has specific default values set. One of those defaults is the page margins, used when you print the worksheet. If you want to change the default page margins, you can do so by following these steps:

  1. Open a new Excel workbook.
  2. Change the page margins for all the worksheets in the workbook. Make sure they reflect the page margins you want used as your default.
  3. Make any other desired "default" changes in the workbook. This may include (but not be limited to) headers, footers, and the like.
  4. Choose Save As from the File menu. Excel displays the Save As dialog box.
  5. In the Save As Type pull-down list at the bottom of the dialog box, select Excel Template or Excel Macro-Enabled Template. (The option you select depends on whether you have macros in the workbook or not.)
  6. The file name you use should be Book.xltx or Book.xltm (depending, again, on whether it contains macros).
  7. Save your newly created template in the XLStart folder. (Do not save it in the default template folder.)

That's it. Now, any time you create a new workbook, Excel uses your template (Book.xltx or Book.xltm) as its model for what you want.

If you are unsure of where the XLStart folder is located (step 7), use Windows to search for the folder. Its exact location can vary depending on how Excel was installed on your machine, as well as the version you are using. You should note that if you are using Excel in a networked environment, you may not have the proper permissions to modify or save anything in the XLStart folder on the server. In that case, you should talk to your network administrator to see if you can save your workbook in the proper place.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (7011) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Excel in Microsoft 365, and 2021. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Setting Default Print Margins.

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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