Printing Graph Paper from Excel

Graph paper can be handy for a number of purposes when you need it – art projects, numeric comparisons, floor plans, and crafts to name a few. But unless you use a lot of it, graph paper isn’t something most of us are likely to keep on hand. Excel can serve up a quick grid to print out by following a few simple steps.

1)      The first step is to modify the default grid in Excel so that the resulting cells are squares instead of rectangles. The confusing part of this is that depending on the values you see for column width and row height, you might be looking at two different kinds of measure. So making their values equal does not result in a square shaped cell. If you right click a column letter in Normal view and choose Column Width from the menu, the value you see and can change is an expression of the column’s width in number of characters. If you right click a row number and choose Row Height from the menu, the value you see is part of an inch.  To better view units of measure, on the View tab of the ribbon, change to Page Layout view. You might want to turn on the Ruler in the Show/Hide group if necessary. Now if you use the column widen tool or the row height tool, you will see measurements displayed as part of an inch and pixels.

Row Height values in Page Layout view
Row height values in Page Layout view

 Now you can make row height and column width numbers match to achieve whatever size squares you would like.

2)      If you try to Print Preview now, you will probably get the message that “Microsoft Excel did not find anything to print.” To provide something to print you can simply click in the upper left cell of the page and press the space bar, and click in the lower right cell and press the space bar there too. Click in some other cell to complete the task. Even though you can’t see any content, Excel now considers that there is something in the cell.

3)      Lastly, perhaps the most important element of graph paper needs to be added. It might seem that the lines are already in place because we can see them. But the printer doesn’t see them until we tell Excel to print that piece. On the Page Layout tab of the ribbon, click the Print Title icon in the Page setup group to open the Page Setup dialog box. In the Print section, click the checkbox in front of Gridlines.

Now if you go to Print Preview, you should see a sheet of graph paper ready for the printer.


  1. honeylv

    Greetings, I enjoy your blog. This is a nice site and I wanted to post a note to let you know, nice job! Thanks kim

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