How to make Excel print gridlines

One of the most common complaints about gridlines is that they are not printed by default. In this article you'll learn how to print gridlines in Excel and get these faint lines brighter on a hard copy by changing the default gridline color.

It's a good idea to preview your worksheet before getting it on paper to make sure that it looks the way you want. Luckily, Excel 2010 and 2013 allow you to preview and print your files in one location -- on the Print tab in the Backstage view. When you go there, you may find that Excel won't print gridlines in your sheet. As the result, you will get a stack of papers with the data that can be difficult to separate visually.

To cope with this problem, you can use the Borders option or just make Excel print gridlines. The first way will take you a good deal of time. So if you, as many other users, want to do it faster, read this article and find out how to print lines in Excel without drawing cell borders.

Turn on the Print Gridlines option in the Excel Ribbon

It really takes you a few seconds to instruct Excel to print gridlines. Just go to the Sheets Options group on the PAGE LAYOUT tab and check the Print box under Gridlines.
Go to PAGE LAYOUT -> Sheets Options to select the Print checkbox under Gridlines

It's that simple! Now you can leisurely keep working on your worksheet.

If you want to make sure that the document will be printed with gridlines, just navigate to FILE -> Print or press the Ctrl + P keyboard shortcut. In the Print Preview pane you will see how your worksheet will look like on the printouts.

 Choose the Print option from the FILE menu to make sure that your spreadsheet will print with gridlines / cell lines

Specify the Page Setup settings to print lines in Excel

If you forget to enable the Print Gridlines option in the Ribbon, you can do it just before getting a paper copy of your spreadsheet. Here are easy-to-follow steps to print gridlines in Excel keeping the Print Preview pane open.

Note: If you've already got out of the Backstage view, you can either go to FILE -> Print or press Ctrl + P to come back.
  1. Click on the Page Setup link under the Print Settings list.
     Click on the Page Setup link under the Print Settings list to open the Page Setup dialog
  2. Move to the Sheet tab of the Page Setup dialog box.
  3. Select the Gridlines checkbox in the Print group.
    Check the Gridlines box on the Sheet tab of the Page Setup dialog window to print gridlines in Excel
  4. Click OK.

You will immediately see your spreadsheet with lines in the Print Preview pane.

Note: Excel does not print gridlines around empty cells in a worksheet. If you want to include blank rows and columns into printing as well, just use the Print Area icon to set the range.

Set the print area to get empty cells printed with gridlines

Change the printed gridlines color

By default, gridlines in Excel spreadsheets are light gray. If you're printing your sheet with grid on a color printer, you can change the lines color for something more attention-getting.

  1. Click the FILE tab in the Ribbon.
  2. Choose Options from the FILE menu to open the Excel Options dialog.
    Choose Options from the FILE menu to open the Excel Options dialog window
  3. Select the Advanced category on the left pane of the Excel Options window.
  4. Scroll down to Display options for this worksheet.
  5. Pick the sheet from the drop-down list where you want to change the grid lines color.
    Go to the Display options for this worksheet section to change the gridlines color
  6. Make sure that the Show gridlines checkbox is selected.
  7. Click on the small arrow next to Gridline color.
    Open the Gridline color drop-down list to pick the color you want
  8. Choose the color you want and click OK.
    Click OK to display the changes in the worksheet

You will see that the cell boundaries are accurately outlined by colored lines. They will help you read information on the paper copy of your spreadsheet, keeping rows and columns with data visually organized.

Alongside with grid lines, you can also improve readability of your Excel document by printing row and column headers on every page.

Now you know how to print gridlines in Excel 2016-2010 and change the default gridline color. I hope you'll find these simple tricks helpful, and your colleagues will appreciate your friendly way of printing out data.

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40 Responses to "How to make Excel print gridlines"

  1. SHERRYJORDAN says:

    THANK YOU,THIS WAS THE BEST INCLUSIVE INFO. I FOUND AFTER VIEWING 7 OR 8 OTHER SITES. MOST OF THE OTHERS ONLY WENT AS FAR AS "PAGE LAYOUT/PRINT GRID LINES." I HAD ALREADY GONE THAT FAR AND STILL WAS NOT GETTING WHAT I NEEDED. SO YOUR DIRECTION TO GO TO ADVANCED OPTIONS DID THE TRICK.

    THANK YOU AGAIN
    SHERYL JORDAN

  2. Bob A says:

    As with other commenter, your solution worked for me for showing gridlines. Thank you very much.

  3. Walt says:

    How can I change Excel so gridlines default to being printed?

  4. LJTheron says:

    Thank you,

    but how do you get all your new sheets to have the same gridline colour instead of the non-existent white?

  5. Kevin F says:

    Yet another glowing thank you for an easy explanation and solution

  6. Chris Walker says:

    But the problem is I almost never print any spreadsheet without gridlines. So I use the default setting 5% of the time and have to manually override it 95% of the time. That doesn't make a lot of sense.

  7. BHills says:

    This is the most detailed list of applicable settings I've ever seen; other sources cover most of them but I've never seen the gridline color option before. That's a great tip in itself, even if you're having no printing problems.

    Unfortunately, there is a well-documented problem affecting at least Excel 2010 on Windows 7 in which gridlines still won't print even when you've taken all of these steps. It seems to involve printer drivers, so is outside the control of anything you do in Excel.

  8. J Hedg says:

    Spent half the night trying to get gridlines to print, including following several suggestions from other sites....but none mentioned setting the print area. As all the cells are empty in what I was trying to print, nothing else worked. Thanks for making my day.

  9. Kimmer says:

    I have the opposite problem. I have random gridlines printing in worksheets and all options for printing gridlines are not selected to print. Ideas?

    • Alexander says:

      Hello Kimmer,

      There may be some custom border applied to your table.
      Just select the range where the issue occurs (the entire worksheet) and press Ctrl + 1. Move to the "Border" tab and click on the "None" icon, then press OK.
      Hope this will help.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I just figured out the easy way to get the gridlines to print. Go to your spreadsheet Home, select Page Layout, Select Margins, Select Custom Margins. Go to Options, then Printing Shortcut, Print Quality and Select "Best". It may take longer for the document to print, but you get the gridlines.

  11. Stephanie says:

    Hoorah for Josh at HP Support. I'm running Windows 7 with Excel 2007 using a new HP ENVY 5530 printer. It was not printing all the gridlines. Bottom line results from Josh -- new printers cannot always understand older software such as Excel 2007. Another printer was added to my computer (HP Deskjet 6800 was chosen by Josh using the IP address of my printer). It is using the language of the Deskjet printer to translate and print to my ENVY 5530. It is now printing ALL gridlines. Hope this helps to solve some problems.

  12. h jacobs says:

    your instructions was the best. I worked two days on other sites and still couldn't print blank with grid lines. I followed your instructions and it worked fine. I thank you so much. That was a big help. I have windows 7 and new HP 8610 printer.

  13. Marcia says:

    gridlines show in print preview, but only row grid lines and 3 of the 10 column grid lines print. I have tried all the suggestions listed here. Anything else I Angry?

    • Alexander says:

      Marcia,

      Please try to print another workbook. If the issue is reproduced, the problem is in your printer. If it is printed well, then the problem is in the particular workbook. Without seeing it we can’t assist you better.

  14. Ben Snyder says:

    I do not want gridlines all over the sheet, so I use Format to put in the gridlines where I want them and how thick. They show up in the "Print Preview" mode, but fail to print.
    I have an HP 6525e All-In-One printer.

  15. Ben Snyder says:

    I'm using Excel 2013.

  16. Larry says:

    All of the tips on this page are excellent and are likely to be helpful to many. However, despite my having all the settings described above to PRINT gridlines (I have Excel 2010; Win 7), SOMETIMES my gridlines (and borders and underlines) do not print even though they show in Print Preview. (There is nothing systematic that I could detect about when this would happen.) What fixes the problem for me is saving the file, closing it, then opening it again. (Just saving is not sufficient.) Everything prints fine from that point on, even after closing the file and opening it again later, in other words, it is a permanent fix for that file. I don't understand why this works for me, it just does. By the way, I use an old HP1100 LaserJet printer. I saw some other webpages about this problem, and they mentioned the issue might be with the age of the printer or the printer driver. My driver is the one recommended by HP for Win 7.

    • M says:

      Larry! I tried all of the other suggestions, but none worked until I closed and reopened as you suggested. Thank you!

  17. Fred says:

    Selecting Print Grid Lines under Page Layout, I am getting lines for each row in Print Preview, however when printing the copy the grid lines encompass two or sometimes more rows. How to line each and every row?

  18. David says:

    After following every instruction listed, sheet 2 is still not printing gridlines. Frustrating.

  19. Patti says:

    Thank you! Fixed my issue in a flash!

  20. suganya says:

    thank u so much. for ur kind information

  21. shivaperumal says:

    Dear All,

    I am facing problem to view the Grid line in excel. if i open new excel iam now able to view grid line. please help me

  22. shivaperumal says:

    sorry new excel file also i am not able to view the grid line. kindly help me

  23. Craftycraft says:

    Thank you SO much for your posts. I was recently given Excel 2013, NOT impressed with changes but your posts have helped me tremendously with issues.

  24. Debbie says:

    Thank you sooooo much you are literally the best, everyone in office is wondering how i get to have neat work Ekaterina your the best awww

  25. Paul says:

    Tried everything. it still does not work.

  26. Sam says:

    Keep asking Ekaterina Bespalaya to prepare responses and how-to articles! I often search for tips for a problem, and this is by far the most comprehensive, simple, and easy-to-follow. In fact, other writers should be given her work as an example of how they should answer.

  27. Denise says:

    I did everything suggested here and still cannot get gridlines!

  28. Lynn says:

    I work with Excel 2010 and my problem is that printing gridlines is not consistent with each time I print a worksheet. I will print a worksheet and it will print the gridlines fine. I then make changes, save the document and when I print again it will not print gridlines. I have to close the document, reopen and then it will print the gridlines. Any suggestions? Thanks!

  29. Gim says:

    I highlighted my selection on the Excel spreadsheet and then saved it as a PDF file and then printed it. The gridlines were printed too!

  30. Faizal Khan says:

    Awesome it resolved the issue

  31. Erma says:

    This did not help at all. Why don't you make it clear that if printer and printer driver is OLD, nothing help.

  32. Lee says:

    Awesome work! Thank you so much!

  33. Doug says:

    Thanks you for this site.

    On screen each cell is single spaced (with grid lines showing as I want) when I preview prior to printing everything looks the same, when I actually print the sheet, most cells are combined with the one below it again showing and printing the grid lines double spaced and some cells/rows are still showing and printing single spacing. I have tried everything I can to fix it.

    Thanks.

    Doug

  34. Peter from Ghana says:

    Wow! Interesting tutorial.
    I enjoyed it.
    Very easy

  35. mina says:

    thank you very much.problem solved..i just changed the color of the grid lines and that's it ..THANKS SO MUCH .GOD BLESS.

  36. mohit vijayvargia says:

    Dear Sir,

    My Question is i will required in one excel sheet each paper total sum show in each paper printout

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