How to Print from Excel with Gridlines?

Gridlines, by default, are not shown when you print a worksheet in Excel. There is, however, a way for you to be able to print them too.

In this tutorial, I will teach you how to do just that and some workarounds that you could do to show the gridlines on the printed page.  

1. Changing the Page Layout Settings

1. Activate the worksheet that you intend to print.

How to activate worksheet that you intend to print

2. Click on the Page Layout menu.

In the Sheet Options section, tick the Print checkbox under the Gridlines option.

Steps to enable the Print Gridlines option from the Page Layout menu

That’s it! The gridlines inside the worksheet will appear on the printed page.

To check if it works, go to File >> Print.

For the keyboard shortcut enthusiasts, press CTRL + P.

On the right side of the screen, you should see the Print Preview of the selected sheet.

Steps to open Print Preview

Click on the button at the bottom right to zoom in and out of the page.

If you’re happy with the result, you can proceed with printing the page. You can also go back to continue with other changes you need to add.

Note These:

  • The Print Gridline option applies only to the active sheet. If you need to have the same setting applied to other sheets, do the same steps for each of these sheets. You can also do it on multiple sheets at one go — hold the CTRL key and select the sheets to activate them as a group, then update the Page Layout settings. 
  • Excel does not include empty or blank cells on the printed page. If you need to have the gridlines displayed even on empty cells, you will need to add the borders to these cells. More on this later.
  • If you have a chart or other objects in your worksheet, note that Excel prints the gridlines behind them too. See the example below.
Sample output where gridlines are printed behind a chart

  • If you want to only have the gridlines on specific cells, undo this method and manually add the borders around your selected cells. Details are in the next section of this tutorial.

2. Adding Cell Borders

To add borders to specific cells on your worksheet:

1. Select the cells you want to surround with gridlines.

Select the cells that you want to surround with gridlines

2. Click on the Home menu. From the “Font” section, click on the small down arrow next to the Cell Borders button.

Steps to add 'All Borders' to selected cells

You will see a list of available border options. Choose whatever is appropriate for your selected cells.

If you want to have a simple gridline type border, select All Borders.

And that’s it! Your selected cells now have their gridline.

Sample output after adding 'All Borders' to selected cells

Feel free to change the color and thickness of the borders around your cells.

In my example below, I have added a Thick Outside Border to give the cells a more defined look on the printed page.

Steps to add a 'Thick Outside Border' to selected cells

To see how it looks on the printed page, press CTRL + P.

You should see the Print Preview of the current sheet.

Sample Print Preview after adding cell borders

You can now proceed with printing the page, or you can go back to continue with the other updates needed.

3. Changing the Settings in Page Setup

This final method is the same as the first one. The only distinction is that we will change the Print Settings using the Page Setup.

1. Activate the worksheet(s) that you want to print.

2. Go to File >> Print >> Page Setup.

Steps to open the Page Setup from the File menu

3. Once the Page Setup form appears, go to the Sheet tab.

Steps to enable the Print Gridlines option from the Page Setup

From the Print options, tick on the Gridlines checkbox and click OK.

4. You will immediately see the result in the Print Preview that appears on the right side of the screen.

5. Once you’re happy with the result, print the worksheet(s) or continue with your other changes.

Troubleshoot Issues with Printing Guidelines

If you still cannot see the gridlines in the Print Preview of the worksheet even after trying the three methods, try the following:

1. Activate the worksheet you would like to print.

2. Go to the Page Layout menu. Click on the small arrow at the rightmost side of the Page Setup section.

Steps to open the Page Setup from the Page Layout menu

3. The Page Setup form will appear. Go to the Sheet tab.

Remove the tick from the Draft quality checkbox and click OK.

Steps to disable Print Draft Quality option from the Page Setup

4. Press CTRL + P to open the Print Preview. See if that fixed the issue.

If that doesn’t work, your printer driver might be outdated, resulting in this issue. Try downloading the latest driver from the official website of your printer.

Conclusion

Gridlines, by default, are not included in the printed page in Excel. But you can easily configure the Page Layout or Page Setup to print them. You could also display the gridlines by manually adding borders to specific cells on your worksheet. This approach gives you more leverage on how you would like the gridlines to appear.

If you still can’t print the gridlines, check the worksheet’s Draft quality option in the Page Setup. It should be disabled. Also, check if your printer driver is up to date.

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