Tips, tricks and tutorials for the technology you use everyday

Five Tips for Printing Excel Spreadsheets

So you’ve made an Excel workbook full of data. It’s well organized, it’s up-to-date, and you’ve formatted it exactly as you want, so you decide to print out a hard copy… and it looks like a mess.

Excel worksheets don’t always look great on paper because they’re not designed to fit on a page—they’re designed to be as long and wide as you need them to be. This is great for editing and viewing  on screen, but it does mean that your data might not be a natural fit to a standard sheet of paper.

However, this doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to make an Excel worksheet look good on paper.  In fact, it’s not even that hard. Here are some tips for printing in Excel; these tips should work the same way in Excel 2007, 2010, and 2013:

  • Preview your worksheet before you print. You can see exactly how your worksheet will look on the printed page by using the Print Preview feature. In terms of saving you time and paper, the preview is your most valuable printing tool. You can even make certain changes within the Print Preview, like clicking on and dragging the print margins to make them wider or narrower. Check the preview as you change printing and layout options to make sure your spreadsheet looks the way you want.

    • Decide what you’re going to print. If you only need to look at a certain segment of your data, don’t bother printing your whole workbook—just print that data. You can print just the worksheet you’re viewing by going to the print pane and selecting Print Active Sheets, or you can select Print Entire Workbook to print the whole file. You can also print a small segment of your data by selecting the data, then choosing Print Selection in the print options.

  • Maximize your space. You’re limited by the dimensions of the paper you’re printing on, but there are ways to make the most of that space. Try changing the page orientation. The default orientation is good for data with more rows than columns, but if your worksheet is wider than it is tall, change the page orientation to landscape. Still need more room? You can change the width of the margins on the edge of your paper. The smaller they are, the more room there is for your data. Finally, if your worksheet isn’t huge, try playing with the Custom Scaling Options to fit all your rows, columns, or even your whole worksheet on one page of paper.
  • Use Print Titles. Once your Excel sheet is more than one page long, understanding what you’re looking at can get tricky.  The Print Titles command lets you include a title row or column on every page of your spreadsheet. The columns or rows you select will show up on every page of your printout, which makes reading your data a lot easier.
  • Use Page Breaks. If your worksheet takes up more than one sheet of paper, consider using page breaks to decide exactly which data should be on which page. When you insert a page break in your worksheet, everything below the break is moved to a different page than everything above. This is useful, as it lets you break up your data exactly the way you want.

Following these  tips will go a long way to making your printed worksheets easier to read. For more printing tips and more detailed instructions for the tips listed above, review our Excel Printing lesson.

  • You can see exactly how your worksheet will look on the printed page by using the Print Preview feature.  In terms of saving you time and paper, the preview is your most valuable printing tool[MS1][ES2]. You can even make certain changes within the Print Preview, like changing the page margins. Check the preview as you change printing and layout options to make sure your spreadsheet looks the way you want.

[MS1]I would add something about how you can change the margins directly from Print Preview in 2010.

[ES2]Added

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Categorised in: Computers, Microsoft Excel

15 Responses »

  1. great.. i found this article ..very useful!! thanks!…

  2. Hello my family member! I want to say that this article is amazing, great written and come with almost all significant infos. Id like to peer extra posts like this.

  3. Indeed i have lerned something with excel

  4. Anyone know how to print odd columns only then even columns only – without going through the steps of hiding columns

  5. I found a better way– upload to Google drive and then download as PDF. it will make your excel sheet looks so great. and it does auto citation for you if you put any comment on your excel sheet!

  6. How do I insert rows in my spreadsheet?

  7. You are so great!!!! I can see more clear, Thanks, tranks.

  8. Best teaching tool ever!!!!

  9. I was so angry at the program for defaulting to “Print Active Sheets”, but reading your clear explanation I could see at once the poor thing has no way to guess what format I want. So I will discipline myself to take a second to select my intent.

  10. THIS IS THE BEST LEARNING WITH ALL WEB SITE I EVER FOUND. EXTRAODINARY AND HELP TO UNDERSTAND HOW TO PRACTICE VIDEO…. GOD BLESS AMERICA!!!
    THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR A FREE LEARNING PROGRAM.

  11. you’re all help me so much thank u
    continue ur great job
    sure to tell others about this site.

  12. This website is beyond wonderful. Thank you so much.

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