Page Breaks in Excel

If you have a large Excel spreadsheet you’re going to print, you may want the pages separated at particular spots. One way to do this is to set the print area. But another is to insert manual page breaks.

RELATED: How to Print a Worksheet with Comments in Excel

About Page Breaks in Excel

It’s best to work with your page breaks in the Page Break Preview in Excel. This allows you to see the automatic and manual breaks as well as the number of pages and their layout.

Go to the View tab and click “Page Break Preview” in the Workbook Views section of the ribbon.

Go to View, Page Break Preview

You can close Page Break Preview any time by clicking “Normal” on the View tab.

Excel adds automatic page breaks where it believes they belong. You can also add your own, as we’ll explain, but there are a few differences between automatic and manual page breaks you should be aware of. An automatic break that Excel adds is indicated by a dotted blue line whereas a manual break that you add has a solid blue line.

Automatic vs. manual breaks in Excel

In addition:

  • If you move an automatic page break, it becomes a manual break.
  • You cannot delete an automatic page break.
  • If you delete all manual page breaks, this resets the spreadsheet to display automatic breaks.

Insert a Page Break in Excel

Once you open Page Break Preview, you can set up a vertical break, horizontal break, or both. To insert a vertical page break, select the column to the right of where you want the break. To insert a horizontal page break, select the row below where you want the break.

Then, go to the Page Layout tab and click the Breaks drop-down arrow. Choose “Insert Page Break.” Alternatively, you can right-click and pick “Insert Page Break.”

You’ll see the break display with its solid blue line.

Inserted page break in Excel

Continue the same process to insert additional page breaks as needed.

Edit or Move a Page Break

You can edit a page break by moving it to include more or less of your sheet and use additional or fewer pages. Remember, if you move an automatic page break, this changes it to a manual break.

To move a page break, click and begin to drag in the direction you want. You’ll see a double-sided arrow and dark gray line as you do this. Release when you finish.

Move a page break

If you want to include the row and column headings or gridlines, you do that outside of this process. What you see here is simply for the sheet’s cell data.

RELATED: How to Print the Gridlines and Row and Column Headings in Excel

Remove a Page Break

You can remove a manual page break that you insert easily. Select the column to the right or row below the break you want to delete.

Then, head to the Page Layout tab, click the Breaks drop-down arrow, and choose “Remove Page Break.” You can also right-click and pick “Remove Page Break.”

Your sheet will automatically update to accommodate the remaining breaks.

Removed a page break

If you want to remove all of the page breaks you’ve inserted instead of just one, click the Breaks drop-down box and choose “Reset All Page Breaks.” Or, right-click and pick “Reset All Page Breaks.”

Your sheet will then update to display only automatic breaks.

Page breaks in Excel reset

If you decide that you only want to print part of your spreadsheet, you can also print a specific selection of cells in Excel.

Profile Photo for Sandy Writtenhouse Sandy Writtenhouse
With her B.S. in Information Technology, Sandy worked for many years in the IT industry as a Project Manager, Department Manager, and PMO Lead. She learned how technology can enrich both professional and personal lives by using the right tools. And, she has shared those suggestions and how-tos on many websites over time. With thousands of articles under her belt, Sandy strives to help others use technology to their advantage.
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