Monday, January 18, 2016

How to Format Excel for Printing

So you've been learning how to use Excel. That's awesome! There are so many things that are much easier to do in a spreadsheet rather than writing them down or calculating by hand.

But sometimes, you do want to print that spreadsheet and file it somewhere or maybe hang it on the fridge. And that requires knowing the basics of Page Setup and Printing.

There are four main places where you can edit what will display when you print. While I walk through these in a certain order, you can adjust them in any order and it should work just the same.

Check out this video for a full walk-through where I format my Link Party Tracking Sheet.

Print and Print Preview

Check the Print Preview. You can do this by clicking File -> Print from the top left corner, or I have Print Preview in my Quick Access Toolbar.

Take note of what the page looks like. Does everything fit? Are you missing any of your data? Are the gridlines showing (or not)? You can adjust all of these things and more before you print.

The following are things you can change in the Print Preview page:
  1. Print Active Sheets - You can tell Excel to print the Worksheet you currently have open, all the sheets in your file, or just the part of your sheet you have highlighted. Your choice!
  2. Pages - If your spreadsheet is huge, you can tell Excel to only print a few of the pages. Just give the page range. Be sure to check to the right at the preview to make sure you get the right ones.
  3. Collated - If you're printing multiple copies, you can decide what order you want the copies to print.
  4. Orientation - Choose which direction the paper goes, Portrait or Landscape.
  5. Page Size - If you're printing on something other than 8.5" x 11", you can change that here.
  6. Margins - Excel with automatically print with 0.7" margins unless you tell it otherwise.
  7. Scaling - This can be a very handy tool. If you know you want your spreadsheet to print all on one page, or have all the columns on one page but let the rows continue, you can change that here. Pay attention to the preview! Sometimes scaling really shrinks your sheet or creates strange white space. Make sure it looks right before printing.

Page Layout

Okay, so you went through all the Print Preview options, but there are still things you want to change. Now what? Your next stop is Page Layout. Click the arrow at the top left to return to your file and then select Page Layout in your Ribbon. There are too many options to really go into detail, but here are the highlights of this section.
  1. Colors and Themes - Excel (and Microsoft) come with an automatic color scheme. This includes all the font and highlighting colors. But you can change it to any set of colors you want.
  2. Print Area - You can select any section of your spreadsheet and have only that selection print.
  3. Breaks - Insert and remove page breaks in your file. Note that the break will appear based on what cell you currently have selected. Pay attention to the blue dotted lines that display in the spreadsheet.
  4. Background - add a picture to the background of your file
  5. Gridlines - Choose to show the lines dividing cells when you print
  6. Headings - Choose to show the column and row headings when you print.

Page Setup

Within Page Layout, there are a couple more detailed menus that you can access. Simply click the small arrow near where it says Page Setup. A dialogue window will open.

  1. Print Area - You can select any section of your spreadsheet and have only that selection print.
  2. Rows to repeat at top - Select as many rows as you want to appear at the top of every page you print.
  3. Columns to repeat at left - Select as many columns as you want to appear at the left of every page you print.
  4. Print
    1. Gridlines - Show the gridlines of each cell when you print
    2. Black and white - Only print black and white, no color
    3. Draft quality - Decreases the print resolution to print faster
    4. Row and column headings - will display the row and column labels on each page
    5. Comments - gives you the option to display comments inserted in the spreadsheet
    6. Cell errors as - allows you to show errors as blanks, dashes, or N/A's
  5. Page order - Changes the order in which the pages print

Page Break Preview

The last place I like to go when preparing my file to print is the Page Break Preview. Click on the icon at the bottom right of the spreadsheet. This will display all the page numbers and page breaks. To adjust, simply click and drag the blue lines marking the page breaks.

You should now be all set! Double check the Print Preview (or Page Layout View) to make sure what you wanted is coming out correctly. Sometimes you have to rescale or double check your page breaks, but it should come out just how you want it.

As with anything, there are multiple ways to do things in Excel. I've just shown you my favorite ways to format my files to print. Please let me know if you need extra help or have questions. Have fun!

I like to join these Link Parties.


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