How To Print Gridlines In Excel – A Step-By-Step Guide

It’s all too possible that our eyes have automatically adjusted to seeing our worksheets in gridlines. It should be no surprise when we print the sheet and then find it rather… plain. And gridline free, which is why what you have been seeing as this:

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Turns out like this when printed:

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This is not the age to waste paper, folks. Let’s do it right and do it right the first time. (Let’s also go green and save the planet!)

In Excel, gridlines are in view on the worksheet by default but they do not print by default. This means that gridlines for printing must be enabled. This is what this tutorial is all about; some easy methods with a few clicks that can get those gridlines to print. You will also learn troubleshooting in case the mentioned methods still aren’t getting printed gridlines.

How to Print Gridlines In Excel

Today, Print Preview is going to be your close friend. With this friend beside us, let’s proceed to printing gridlines.

Printing Gridlines using Sheet Options

The gridlines can be added to prints in a few clicks using Sheet Options. Here’s what to do:

  • The Sheet Options are in the Page Layout tab. The Gridlines section has two checkboxes. The View checkbox is for enabling the gridlines on the worksheet. The Print checkbox is for enabling the gridlines in print. Tick the Print checkbox and the gridlines will get enabled for printing.

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  • Press Ctrl + P for the Print Preview. The gridlines appear now.

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  • Click the Print button in the Print Preview window to get printing.

Sheet Options is a super quick way to get gridlines printed. You’ll be done in a few clicks. Let’s explore a couple more ways.

Printing Gridlines Using Page Setup Launcher Tool

Another simple option is to enable printing gridlines using the Page Setup dialog box from the Page Setup launcher tool. The dialog launcher tool is a tiny arrow that sits in the bottom-right corner in grouped sections on the ribbon menu. The precise steps are listed below:

  • Go to the Page Layout in the Page Setup section, click on the launcher tool (the tiny arrow in the bottom-right corner) to open the Page Setup dialog box.

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  • In the dialog box, go to the Sheet. Check the Gridlines checkbox.

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  • To continue with your worksheet, click OK. At this point, the gridlines have been added for printing. If you want to directly print the worksheet from here, you can click on the Print command button. To make the final checks before printing, click the Print Preview command button.

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  • When ready, click on the Print button at the top.

The Sheet Options method is quicker than using Page Setup but if you’re on your way to adjusting more settings regarding the setup of the page, then this method is the smoother option. Let’s see the final method.

Printing Gridlines from Print Preview Mode

You’re checking out your work on Print Preview and you see the horror of missing gridlines. Stoop to the bottom section of Print Preview and there’s the little savior button that Excel calls Page Setup. Page Setup will allow you to enable gridlines for printing. The steps for this are below:

  • Press Ctrl + P to go to Print Preview.
  • Click on the Page Setup link at the bottom to open the Page Setup

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  • In the window, go to the Sheet tab. Check the Gridlines checkbox.

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  • Click OK. You will instantly notice that the gridlines have appeared in the print preview.

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  • To continue with your worksheet, click on the back arrow at the top left. To proceed with printing, click on the Print button at the top.

This option is a good pick since you probably are going to hop onto Print Preview anyway for well, print-previewing before printing. The convenient Page Setup access gives quick control over page settings for adjustments (enabling gridlines in this case) before printing.

Recommended Reading: Hiding Gridlines in Excel

Common Issues when Printing Gridlines

Getting gridlines to show on paper shouldn't be much trouble but maybe things aren’t going your way and so, we need to have your back. Here are a few issues you may face when printing gridlines and their solutions.

Printing Gridlines only up to non-blank cells

If you notice, while setting up the gridlines for printing, Excel automatically only adds gridlines extending to the data (non-blank cells) like so:

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If we add more columns and rows before the data, the gridlines in printing will extend, again, up to the data:

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Here is what enabling printing gridlines would look like in Print Preview:

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Let's say you need more gridlines post-printing to manually add comments or data. You can adjust the print area of the sheet and that will automatically include more gridlines up to the point of adjustment.

One way to adjust the print area is by adjusting the page breaks in Page Break Preview. You can quickly jump to Page Break Preview by clicking on the last button in the status bar below:

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Click and drag the blue lines to adjust the print area.

This is what our adjusted sheet looks like:

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Now you can head to Print Preview and see that extending the print area has included more gridlines in the print.

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Check Draft Quality in Page Setup

If you’ve exhausted all the options above and still getting gridlines to print escapes you, try making one final check. Make sure that you aren’t printing in draft quality mode. Draft quality will print the sheet without any of the graphics included in the sheet. So, our data, despite having print gridlines enabled, will look like this in draft quality mode:

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To quickly fix this, go to the Page Setup (from the link at the bottom in Print Preview or from the Page Setup dialog launcher from the Page Layout tab).

In the Sheet tab, make sure the Draft quality checkbox is unchecked.

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Then click OK.

This should hop the worksheet out of draft quality mode and fix the absence of the gridlines issue:

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Check the Printer Driver

This one’s an out-of-Excel solution but should there be any problems with the printer driver, you can go to the printer company’s website to download the latest driver from there.

Borders in place of Gridlines

Coming back to Excel, the final solution can be makeshift gridlines; borders. Format your data to include borders where you want the gridlines.

Use the Borders button in the Home tab’s Font section to add the borders you like.

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Here it is in Print Preview:

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Bottom line: Get those lines by hook or crook. We’ll sign out now with the hope that your gridline issues are resolved. We have dished out some quick and easy methods and fixes there that will have your worksheets print-ready in no time. Speaking of which, we’ll be back with more Excel load in no time, with more problem-solvers, how-tos, and knacks. Excel all the way!

About Ankit Kaul

Well, I am Ankit Kaul, the founder of Excel Trick. I am a die-hard fan of Microsoft Excel and have been working with spreadsheets for the past 10+ years. My only aim is to turn you guys into 'Excel Geeks'. Check out more about me here.