Preventing Printing

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated November 6, 2021)
This tip applies to Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003


If you are working with a sensitive worksheet, you may wonder if it is possible to prevent a user from actually printing the worksheet. Unfortunately, there is no foolproof way short of making sure the user doesn't have a printer attached to their system.

You can, depending on your version of Excel, customize the program so the print-related commands are removed from the toolbars and menus. You can also replace Excel's built-in print commands with commands that do nothing. However, that doesn't stop people from actually doing a screen print of what is on the computer screen, thereby ending up with the information on a printout. In addition, people could bypass executing the macros by disabling them when the workbook is loaded. Another way around such customizations is for the user to simply copy text from the print-inhibited worksheet and paste it into a new worksheet that has no such customizations. The worksheet could then easily be printed.

You can also try non-Excel solutions, such as using Adobe Acrobat to create a protected PDF file that cannot be printed. However, even then the user could still do a screen print of what they see.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (3323) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

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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