Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Excel 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Excel, click here: Non-Printing Controls.

Non-Printing Controls

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated April 10, 2021)
This tip applies to Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003


Excel allows you to place some special controls in your worksheet which can make it easier to input information. For instance, you can add a drop-down control that allows your user to select data from a given set that you have defined.

While these controls are handy, they can be distracting when it comes time to print your worksheet. They will print, but they take away from the other data you want people to focus upon in the printout.

As a solution, many people simply define print areas that don't include the cells over which the controls appear. For example, if the controls are placed over some cells in column B, you can define a print area that begins with column C. (Remember that the selections in a control can be assigned to any cell in the worksheet through the use of the Linked Cell property of the control. Thus, a change in the control results in a change in some value in a cell in the worksheet. This means that the appearance of the control is independent from the appearance of the data selected in the control.)

Another solution is to simply turn off the printing of the control. For instance, you could have the control appear over the top of cell C3, and the value of C3 is linked to the control. You can then follow these steps to turn off printing of the control:

  1. Right-click on the control. Excel displays a Context menu.
  2. Choose Format Control from the Context menu. Excel displays the Control tab of the Format Control dialog box.
  3. Make sure the Properties tab is selected.
  4. Clear the Print Object check box.
  5. Click on OK.

If you prefer to work directly with the control's properties, you can follow these steps instead:

  1. Right-click on the control. Excel displays a Context menu.
  2. Choose Properties from the Context menu. Excel displays the Properties dialog box for the control.
  3. Change the PrintObject property to False.
  4. Click on OK.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (3081) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Excel (Excel 2007 and later) here: Non-Printing Controls.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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