How to Print an Excel Spreadsheet With Background

By Chad Davis

Enhance your worksheets in Microsoft Excel 2013 by applying and printing a background. You can use the Page Layout ribbon to adjust the appearance of your worksheet, including Print Area, Background, and Gridlines. Apply cell shading to your worksheet if you want to print a color or pattern background. After you've selected your print area, preview your worksheet using the Backstage Print screen.

Adding a Background Image

Open the worksheet you want to print with a background image. Click the "Page Layout" tab, then the "Background" button in the Page Setup group. Select an option to insert your picture. For example, click the "Browse" link next to From a File to select an image on your computer -- or search for an image online using the boxes next to Clip Art and Bing Image Search. Select an image and then click "Open" or "Insert" to apply it to your background.

Applying Cell Shading

While you can apply a background image to your worksheet, you must use cell shading in order to apply a solid color to your background. Select your print area -- or press "Ctrl-A" to select your entire worksheet. Right-click on your selection and then click "Format Cells…" Click the "Fill" tab. To select a standard color, click a color box under Background Color. Click "More Colors…" to select a custom color. To use a background pattern, select an option in the Pattern Color and Pattern Style drop-downs. Click "OK" to apply the background to your worksheet.

Previewing and Printing Gridlines

Cell borders in Excel are marked with gray lines known as gridlines. By default, gridlines are not included when you print your worksheet. To print gridlines, click on the "Page Layout" tab, then check the "Print" box under Gridlines in the Sheet Options group. Press "Ctrl-F2," "Ctrl-P," or "File," and then "Print," to preview how your gridlines will print. Gridlines will appear only in the print area of your worksheet. If necessary, change your print area to include a larger range of cells. Click the "Print" button to print your worksheet.

Changing the Print Area

Open your worksheet. Click and drag across the cells to make your selection. Hold "Ctrl" to make multiple selections. Click the "Page Layout" tab. Click the "Print Area" drop-down button in the Page Setup group and then "Set Print Area." A thin gray line outlines your print selection and preserves this selection when saving your workbook. Click "Clear Print Area" under the Print Area button to clear your print area -- or click "Add to Print Area" to add additional cells to your print area.

Printing Considerations

Some content you add to your worksheets may not print well from Excel. If you're using a background image, you may want to apply cell shading to your cells containing important data to make it easier to read. Conditional formatting, table decorations and colored elements may not display well if you're printing in grayscale or black-and-white. You can find additional print settings in Excel's Backstage Print screen, including margins, scaling, orientation and printer properties. Press "Ctrl-F2" or click "File" and then "Print." Click the "Print" button to print your worksheet.