#241 Printing Spreadsheets

So you’ve just spent a bazillion hours perfecting that spreadsheet for your big project. You’re very impressive use of formulas and formatting has it looking great and humming along like a finely tuned number crunching machine. Congratulations you’re all done right? Well….not so fast. You need to ask yourself one more question — Will anyone need to print this out? Taking a few minutes to consider this will save you and your audience a lot time and paper. And I won’t even mention the inevitable swear words that follow if you don’t do this well.

By following these tips to fine-tune your worksheets, you can avoid common printing problems and win the appreciation of everyone printing them.

Use Print Preview

If you do nothing else, take time to use Print Preview to see how your spreadsheet will print. If you notice the printout will be 1000 pages with data that is cut-off and orphaned, includes lots of blank pages etc then you need to do a little bit more work to correct this.

Remember…do unto others and you’d have them do unto you. Spreadsheet karma does exist so be sure you are on the right side of it. 😎

Make It Easy To Read

Here are a few general considerations for helping people decipher the information you have included.

1. Include additional information and page numbers in the headers or footers.

2. Print row and column headings on every page

3. Make sure your data is visible and easy to scan.

4. Adjust the margins. Add extra space if you are using headers & footers or remove it you are not.

Make It Fit Width-wise

Here are a few things to try if your spreadsheet it too wide to fit on one page.

1. Change to landscape orientation

2. Shrink it to fit on a single page.

3. Hide unnecessary columns.

4. Print only the relevant part of the sheet.

Fix Weird Page Breaks With Page Break Preview View

The automatic page breaks that Excel inserts can land in some pretty funky places. The best way to take control of these is to use the Page Break Preview view.

From the View menu, select Page Break Preview and you’ll get something that looks like this.

Once you’re in this view, it’s super simple to just click-n-drag the page break lines around and get them exactly where you want the.

NOTE: Manually inserted page breaks appear as solid lines.
Dashed lines indicate where Excel will break pages automatically.

Managing Page Breaks

To move a page break, drag the page break to a new location.

Moving an automatic page break changes it to a manual page break.

To insert a vertical or horizontal page break, select a row or column below or to the right of where you want to insert the page break, right-click, and then click Insert Page Break.

To remove a page break, drag the page break outside of the page break preview area.

To remove all manual page breaks, right-click any cell on the worksheet, and then click Reset All Page Breaks

See a full list of ideas for preparing your spreadsheets for printing and get more details about working in Page Break Preview view.

Love it? Hate it? Got any better ideas? Have any printing horror stories to share? Let me know.


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