Disabled Page Setup Tools

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated November 16, 2019)


Ali notes that on his copy of Excel the tools in the Page Setup group of the Page Layout tab of the ribbon (Margins, Orientation, Print Area, etc.) are disabled. He wonders why they would be disabled and what he can do to make them available.

Try as I might, I cannot get this situation to occur on any of my test systems. In Excel 2007, Excel 2010, Excel 2013, Excel 2019, and Excel in Office 365 the Page Setup tools are always available. I had a few other ExcelTips subscribers indicate that the condition occurs when Page Setup is accessed through Print Preview, but I couldn't get that to occur, either.

When using Excel 2007, you can access Print Preview by clicking the Office button, then clicking Print | Print Preview. (You can also display Print Preview by pressing Ctrl+F2 or by pressing Ctrl+P and then clicking the Preview button.) Regardless of how you get to the Print Preview screen, the normal tabs of the ribbon are gone and only a Print Preview tab remains. (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1. The Print Preview tab in Excel 2007.

If you click the Page Setup tool, Excel displays the Page Setup dialog box which has all the tools available for use.

When using Excel 2010 or a later version you notice right away that the Print Preview is completely different than in Excel 2007. Press Ctrl+P, Ctrl+F2, or display the File tab of the ribbon and click Print—it doesn't matter, all these display the print settings, which has a quick-and-dirty print preview. There is, at this point, no ribbon displayed at all. (See Figure 2.)

Figure 2. The print settings screen includes a quick-and-dirty print preview.

If you click Page Setup on the screen, Excel again displays the Page Setup dialog box and all the tools are available within it; none are disabled.

I tried all the above options from Print Preview with files in both native and compatibility mode and with different printer drivers. In all instances the Page Layout tab of the ribbon is not visible when using Print Preview, but the page setup options are all accessible through the Page Setup dialog box.

This, of course, leads me to think that the problem Ali is facing is not related to Print Preview, but to some other condition occurring. The first thing to check is if the problem crops up with all workbooks or just with a single one. If it is the latter, then it could be that the workbook is corrupted in some way. (Try the problem workbook on a different system, just to make sure.)

It could also be that there is an add-in or a macro in the workbook that is causing the problem. You can figure out if this is the case by disabling all your add-ins and saving the workbook in XLSX format (instead of XLSM) so that the macros are stripped from it. Open up the newly saved workbook and see if the problem still exists.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (12917) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 365.

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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What is 3 - 2?

2018-11-07 09:03:41


the problem occurs when there is no printer defined

2018-01-24 13:04:52


someone suggested that this problem (page setup tools are grayed out) is due to the fact that a printer is not connected with the computer. Excel may feel that without a printer, it is not necessary to make these option available to the user.

2017-07-22 23:08:13


I had the same problem. My default printer was unplugged making these options disabled. I changed my default printer to pdf and all was well.

2016-12-09 04:53:22

Rajesh Tamang

I would like to say that few months ago i lost page set up option in ms excel. Recently I noticed that page set up option comes only if i connect my laptop online. How to solve this, is it a bug or virus in my laptop ??

2016-11-26 00:47:09


change the printer you have. you should be connected to a printer that has online status

2016-10-27 04:33:30

Garrett O\'Leary

I just had the same problem in Excel 2016. I opened excel and pasted in a JPEG immediately. I switched to page layout view in the veiew tab and then clicked on the page layout tab to adjust my margins. Most features in the page setup option group were grayed out. I tried returning to normal view, saving the file, closing and re-opening. Nothing returned them to life. I can quit excel and open a new file. The features work fine. However, if I re-open the original (with the JPEG pasted in) the page setup features in all open excel files become non functional. I am using Excel since MsOffice Version 4.0 and I have not come across this one before.

2016-09-06 13:13:21

Robert Paraniuk

I had exactly this problem where all my page layout functions were disabled. I could not adjust margins or change page breaks. I could not scale to fit, or change orientations. It turns out that it was because I had changed printers and removed the printer which was setup before. Once I changed the printer to the new one, everything worked great againn.

2016-08-04 23:17:23


i figured it out. if you're using excel 2013, go to view tab, select page layout then click normal or page break, then the page layout tab will be activated again. i'm still not sure what triggered this situation, so if you happen to know, please share, thanks! 😁

2016-08-04 22:39:02


i think the page layout was disabled when i accidentally pressed winkey + pageup/pagedown instead of ctrl+pageup/pagedown, i'm using excel 2013. please help, i can't figure out how to revert it. thanks

2016-07-22 17:01:40


Thanks for thread. Relster your comment worked for me. I had areas grayed out and after seeing your comment I realized that because I had opened excel a second time on another screen and I guess as I had clicked on "File" that caused the "Print Area" and the "Print Titles" to gray.

2016-01-07 10:14:16


Running Win 10, Office Pro 2010
In Excel, when trying to see Print Preview (either with page-with-magnifying-glass icon or thru File-Print), SOME (not all) documents don't show and I see an icon named "Show Print Preview." When I click it, the PP shows up fine.
MOST of the time, PP comes up fine.
I don't change any print settings between docs.

2015-12-02 13:20:35

Jalaal Khallaaf

I had the same problem when the default printer was Adobe PDF and for some reason it got corrupted.

2015-09-19 11:03:08


I installed win 10 and every excel doc I opened had orientation shaded. I figured out that it needs you to have a printer selected as default before you can use that option. Although Word knew the printer was there, for some reason Excel didn't. So I went to printers and had it check my printer and then establish (it pretneded) a connection and the nest time I opened an excel doc orientation was okay. weird

2015-07-14 05:03:21


When i am taking the print in Excel the Printer is showing that "unable to connect" but in word files coming print properly....

This problem i am facing in excel only.........

2015-07-12 18:37:15


Zeddy, that was my problem. I had forgotten I had disabled the printer because it kept telling me it was offline when I tried to print something. Got the printer back on my devices and now I have all the page layout options. Sweet.

2015-06-29 18:26:03


I'm a little late to this thread but ran into this very problem today. What I found was that I had another file open, that was sitting at the "Print" screen. After I closed that, I was able to use the ribbon controls for Page Layout and nothing was greyed out. Maybe this will help someone else.

2015-04-08 16:44:09


My situation was resolved when I chose a printer that was NOT offline. Page Setup options are dependent upon the selected printer, so I suppose if the printer is offline line it can't fetch its format settings.

2015-03-24 16:09:52


I have found that if you try to do Page Setup through the print preview (Ctrl + P) method, the following are grayed out:
Print Area, Rows to repeat, and Columns to repeat. In order to enter this information, you need to access Page Setup through the Page Layout tab rather than print preview. I, too, was wondering why that is.

2014-12-17 18:57:30


CORRECTION: I disabled HTTP from within the Device Manager after selecting "show hidden devices" from the view menu.

2014-12-17 18:55:17


I may be totally off here as I cannot think of why this would be the case, but I think it is worth mentioning. My margins, orientation, print tiles and page setup dialog box button in the ribbon are all locked or "grayed out". Maybe more than just those even. Additionally, I cannot see a print preview when I click print from the menu. All of this was not the case until I disabled the service HTTP from within services.msc in order to open up port 80 so that I could run a developer server for a application creation program. Does this ring a bell to anyone?

2014-07-11 06:53:03


Sorry I should have been more specific with my scenario:
If you open up Excel and change the Margins/orientation without Pressing Print/Ctrl + P first then it disables these options.
If you print first then it doesn't disable them!

2014-07-11 06:45:06


Hi Allen,

On my copy of Excel (2010) changing the page margins to anything but normal disables all those buttons.
You could try that to see if it will replicate the problem on your copy.


2014-01-26 06:53:24

Michael (Micky) Avidan

To whom it may concern,
Adding the 2 Print Preview dedicated Icons to the QAT bar will resolve most, if, not all, the problems.
Michael (Micky) Avidan
“Microsoft® Answers" - Wiki author & Forums Moderator
“Microsoft®” MVP – Excel (2009-2014)

2014-01-25 11:51:52


Just a thought, but are more than one sheets selected / grouped. This will cause some formatting items to be unavailable.

2014-01-25 11:50:54


This scenario would happen if the worksheet / workbook is protected.

2014-01-25 05:28:59


In order to Print Preview in Excel, you must of course have a default printer available.

Perhaps there is a problem with the printers and/or drivers

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