Printing from Excel can be a confusing task, especially when you have a large spreadsheet that needs to be easily read when printed. How many times have you hit the ‘print’ button before remembering that you don’t need the whole thing, or need it to all fit on one page?
The first thing to remember is that Print Preview is your friend. It’s a good idea to get into the habit of always previewing before you print – this will save you a lot of paper and time!
To get you started, here are some tips for things to consider before hitting that ‘print’ button!
How to specify how many pages you want your document to be
You can put a limit on how many pages you want your document to be when printed.
If you use this option then you lose any manual page breaks (but see the next tip for how to get around this).
For Excel 2007, on a PC:
- Choose the Page Layout tab
- Click the little icon from the bottom right hand corner of the Page Setup group
- Choose ‘Fit to’ and enter the number of pages wide and tall you’d like your print out to be
- I advise going to ‘Print Preview’ now, rather than straight to ‘Print’, as you’ll need to check the printout won’t be scaled down so far as to not be readable!
Using a Mac? Skip the first two steps and go straight to File, then Page Setup.
Using Excel 2010? Follow the procedure for a Mac or you can choose the Page Layout tab and go straight to Scale to Fit.
How to specify either width or height – and keep your page breaks
This option is useful if your spreadsheet has lots of rows or columns but not both. This option will keep in any manual page breaks you’ve added to which ever dimension you set to Automatic.
For Excel 2007 on a PC, or any version of Excel for Mac:
- Go to Page Setup by clicking the arrow in the bottom right-hand corner of the Page Layout tab
- Choose Fit To, and enter the number for your specified width or height
- Leave the other dimension blank (delete anything that’s been automatically populated) – this will set it to automatic.
For Excel 2010, on a PC:
- Choose the Page Layout tab
- Select the Scale to Fit option for either width or height to 1 page, and set the other to Automatic
- Print preview/print
Printing part of a spreadsheet
To print just part of your spreadsheet, select the cells you want to print and choose the Page Layout tab. Click on ‘Print Area’ and ‘Set Print Area’. Next time you Print, or Print Preview, you’ll see your selected area.
Excel will remember your selection, so repeat the steps above and choose ‘Clear Print Area’ to remove it.
If your spreadsheet is only slightly too big to fit on one page, you can adjust the page margins within the Print Preview, to squeeze it all on to one page.
When you’re in the Print Preview screen, and can see that just one column or row is on a second page, tick the box for ‘show margins’. You can then manually drag the page margins outwards until it’s all on one page.
As well as changing the page margins here, you can adjust column widths.
Setting Print Titles
Another thing to remember when printing large spreadsheets is that you may want your column titles/labels to appear on every page. If so, go to Page Set up then Print Titles and enter any rows or columns that need to appear on every printed page.
In this box, you can also select whether you’d like the gridlines or not, and which order you want the pages to print in.