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: Locking the Print Area.

Locking the Print Area

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated May 21, 2022)
This tip applies to Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Excel in Microsoft 365, and 2021


Karolyne shares workbooks with other people. Once in a while those people will, without knowing it, make changes to a worksheet that results in many, many pages being printed. Karolyne is looking for a way to set a print area in such a way that it is "locked" and could not be changed or removed.

There are a couple of things you can try. First, you can set your print area and then apply worksheet protection that allows only some of the cells in the worksheet to be selected. This will preclude those strange changes that result in huge printouts. It won't, however, stop someone from changing the print area so it includes only those unprotected cells.

The only way to "protect" the print area is to use a macro that will force the desired print area. One natural place to enforce this is just before printing. The following event handler (added to the ThisWorkbook module) will change the print area for worksheet Sheet1 to the range A1:C25:

Private Sub Workbook_BeforePrint(Cancel As Boolean)
    Worksheets("Sheet1").PageSetup.PrintArea = "A1:C25"
End Sub

This approach will only work, obviously, if the user enables macros when the workbook is opened. You can change the specified sheet name and range as desired.

Note:

If you would like to know how to use the macros described on this page (or on any other page on the ExcelTips sites), I've prepared a special page that includes helpful information. Click here to open that special page in a new browser tab.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (11497) 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: Locking the Print Area.

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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