Getting an Excel sheet ready to print

If your sheet has more columns than can fit on the width of a printed page, your information will be disjointed and difficult to read when printed. Thankfully Excel provides settings you can adjust so it prints out in a clear, professional and usable format.

By default, Excel will print 9 columns and 50 rows in the portrait layout, and 14 columns and 33 rows in the landscape layout. If your data uses more columns and rows than this, what looks like an organized spreadsheet on the screen will be broken up into multiple pages, making it very difficult to read. That is why it’s important you set your sheet up for printing. Please note that the settings referred to below are all on the “Page Layout” tab.

If you have columns or rows with some information that doesn’t need to be printed, set a print area so just the important part of your spreadsheet is printed. To do this, select the columns, rows or cells you want to print, click the “Print Area” dropdown list ‘ then select “Set Print Area”.

If you are printing off a database-like sheet, such as a cashbook, scale the size of your sheet down so all the columns fit on a single page. If your data uses more rows than can fit on a page, multiple pages will be printed. To do this automatically, locate the “Scale to Fit” group, and set the width to one page.

Only the first page printed will show any column headings you have used, making it hard to understand what each column represents in any subsequent page. To fix this, select “Print Titles”, click in the “Rows to repeat at top:” box and click the row on your sheet that contains the headings. Click OK and Excel will print this row at the top of each page.

Click the “Size” dropdown list and select the paper size you will be using. Next choose the appropriate orientation from the “Orientation” dropdown list. Now press the CTRL and F2 keys together to preview what your sheet will print out like and if it all looks ok, press the print button to print your sheet.

When you set your sheet to fit to the width of a page, Excel may scale it down to a size that is too small to read. If you have set the orientation to portrait, change it to landscape, as this will give the columns more room and increase the overall scale of your sheet. Also make the margins smaller by selecting “Narrow” from the Margins dropdown list.

If you want to print off only a small section of your sheet, select those cells, then press the CTRL and F2 keys to open the print preview. Next locate the dropdown list that normally shows “Print Active Sheets” and change it to “Print Selection”