Showing Print Preview for the Current Page

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated October 27, 2018)

Michelle has a lengthy worksheet that she's working with. When she uses Print Preview for the worksheet, the page shown in the Print Preview dialog is always the first page. Michelle wonders if there is a way to make Print Preview automatically show the page of the worksheet on which she's working.

One way to approach this problem is to try working with print areas. If you select the area of the worksheet on which you are working and then set the print area equal to your selection, then when you display Print Preview, you should see only that print area.

If this does not accomplish your desire, then you might think you can resort to using a macro. Here's an example macro that may do the trick for you:

Sub PrintPreviewActivePage()
    Dim lActiveRow As Long
    Dim iActiveCol As Integer
    Dim iHPBs As Integer
    Dim iVPBs As Integer
    Dim lRow As Integer
    Dim iCol As Integer
    Dim iPage As Integer

    lActiveRow = ActiveCell.Row
    iActiveCol = ActiveCell.Column
    ActiveSheet.UsedRange

    If IsEmpty(ActiveCell.SpecialCells(xlCellTypeLastCell)) Then _
      ActiveCell.SpecialCells(xlCellTypeLastCell).FormulaR1C1 = " "
    If lActiveRow > ActiveCell.SpecialCells(xlCellTypeLastCell).Row Or _
      iActiveCol > ActiveCell.SpecialCells(xlCellTypeLastCell).Column Then _
      Exit Sub

    With ActiveSheet
        iHPBs = .HPageBreaks.Count
        iVPBs = .VPageBreaks.Count
        lRow = 0
        iCol = 0
        If iHPBs > 0 Or iVPBs > 0 Then
            For lRow = iHPBs To 1 Step -1
                If .HPageBreaks(lRow).Location.Row <= lActiveRow Then Exit For
            Next lRow
            For iCol = iVPBs To 1 Step -1
                If .VPageBreaks(iCol).Location.Column <= iActiveCol Then Exit For
            Next iCol
        End If
        iPage = (lRow + 1) + (iCol * (iHPBs + 1))
        .PrintOut From:=iPage, To:=iPage, Preview:=True
        MsgBox "Previewed page " & iPage
    End With
    If ActiveCell.SpecialCells(xlCellTypeLastCell).FormulaR1C1 = " " Then _
      Selection.SpecialCells(xlCellTypeLastCell).ClearContents
End Sub

This macro is actually a variation on any number of macros you could find with some sleuthing on the Internet. There are two key parts to it—first the macro figures out which "page" you are on in the worksheet, and then it uses the .PrintOut method with the Preview parameter set to True, resulting in Print Preview being invoked.

One some worksheets this macro may work great, but it is quite fickle in whether it will work or not. In most of my testing, I was not able to get it to work, unless I used very small worksheets. (In other words, very few rows and columns.) If you run it on a large worksheet, you'll quickly see that you get a "Subscript Out of Range" error in the loop that examines members of the .HPageBreaks collection. How this could happen when you aren't using a member that is out of range (lRow never varies outside the value returned by the .Count property) is baffling.

It seems to be a problem that Microsoft acknowledges, though. In fact, it is a problem they have acknowledged, yet never fixed, for years:

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/210663/

The suggested solution on the web page doesn't really work, though. So, we are stuck with a macro that only works reliably on worksheets where you wouldn't need to calculate the page number because you are only working with a single page. Aargh!

The bottom line is that a macro-based approach may—for the foreseeable future—not be viable for Michelle's needs. That leaves us with just the print-area approach, described at the beginning of this tip.

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 (13578) 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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