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Lesson 30 - Excel Printing-Effective Printing in Excel. Level 1 Free Training



Download the associated Workbook for this lesson

Make Use of Custom Views to Save Your Print Settings. Found under View on the main menu barDifferent Views

Excel provides you with lots of different settings that let you adjust the final appearance of the data that you wish to print. There are three different types of views that are available to you to help you see and adjust how the Worksheet will look when you print it. It is entirely up to you which view you work in, you can switch between the different views to view your work in different modes and see the effects before you print it.

The three views available to you are:

  • Normal View
  • Page Break Preview
  • Print Preview

Normal View

Normal view is the default of Excel. It is the best option for working with your document and for on-screen viewing. This view is available through the View menu on the Standard Worksheet Menu Bar.

Page Break Preview

This preview will show you the page breaks of your data and will easily allow you to adjust your print area and page breaks. This view is available through the View menu on the Standard Worksheet Menu Bar and is not covered in this lesson.

Print Preview

If you set your view to Print Preview, you can easily see your columns and margins and adjust them in this mode. All you need to do is hover your mouse over the column handles (located right at the top of your page) until your mouse changes to a cross and drag in whichever direction you require to widen the column, or place your mouse on the margin lines and drag in the same way. This view is available by pressing the Preview button on your Print dialog box, by selecting the Print Preview icon located to the right of your printer icon on the Standard Toolbar, or by selecting Print Preview from the File menu.

Let us now have a look at printing a typical document.

Call up the attached Workbook ExcLev1L07. xls (NOTE: you may have to extract it from the ZIP first !)

At the top of your screen are 9 buttons. Letís have a look at some of these now.

Next and Previous

Selecting these buttons will take you through the number of pages you have on your screen. Next will take you forwards and Previous will take you to the previous page.


By selecting this button, you will switch between a full-page view of a sheet and a magnified view. The Zoom feature will not affect the size of your printing. It is just an aid to assist with readability. You can switch between a full-page view and a magnified view of a sheet by clicking any area of the sheet. Notice your mouse will change to a magnifying glass when you do this. Place your mouse over the part of the sheet that you wish to magnify and by clicking your mouse button it is magnified.


Select the button titled Margins (another toggle button), you will see lines pop up on your screen. Each line depicts a margin. You can change your margins by hovering your mouse over the lines until your mouse changes to a cross, then drag to either widen or shorten. Selecting the Margins button again will hide the margin lines.


If you select this button, your Page Setup dialog box will pop up in front of you.

This dialog box can also be accessed via the File menu. You will notice as we go through this box that a few options are greyed out. If you select Page Setup through the File menu, all options will be available to you, so it is a good idea to access it this way while you are learning. This is probably the most important box of the entire printing function, as it is here you make the necessary changes to print your document professionally.


Orientation means the way in which your sheet of paper prints from the printer. Portrait means with the shorter edge at the top of your page and the longer edges at the sides, and the Landscape option means with the longer edges at the top of the page and the shorter edges down the sides.


There are two options under this heading. The first option Adjust to __% of normal size will allow you to reduce or enlarge the print range you have selected. The range varies from shrinking your selection to 10% of normal size, to expanding your selection to 400% of normal size.

The second option under this heading is Fit to __ page(s) high by __ page(s) tall. This will make our selection to fit on however many pages we specify.

Letís now select Portrait under Orientation and Fit to 1 page(s) wide by 1 page(s) tall under Scaling. Now hit OK and you should be returned to Print Preview mode. You will notice that all our selected data now appears on one page.

If you hit the Setup button again, you will be returned to the Page Setup dialog box. Note here that under Adjust to __% of normal size you have 77%. This is telling you that Excel had to reduce your selected data to 77% of itís normal size to fit it all onto a page that is 1 page wide by 1 page tall.

Now select the Landscape button under Orientation and then select the Adjust to __% of normal size option and either type or use the spin button arrows to reach 100%. Select OK again to accept your choice.

Again you will be returned to Print Preview mode and you will notice now that your selected data is again on two pages. If we wanted to, we could select the Fit to 1 page(s) wide by 1 page(s) tall option, to fit all of our data on a landscape page, but in this case we will print on 2 pages.

Paper Size

You can change your paper size here, as well as in your Print dialog box if you wish by selecting your downward pointing arrow to see the paper sizes available through your printer.

Print Quality

You can change your print quality here, as well as in your Print dialog box by also selecting the downward pointing arrow to see the ranges available to you.

First Page Number

The default here is Auto which means your printing will Start at page 1. If you wish to print Starting at another page number, you can type any number other than 1 in this box.


This sheet tab will show you the margins of your page and the margins of any headers or footers you may have. You can type your margins in if you wish, but it is far easier to change your margins using the Margins button in Print Preview mode, as discussed above.

Centre on Page

This option however, is a very handy feature not available in Print Preview mode. By selecting either horizontal or vertical you will center your selection on your page either horizontally or vertically.


The definition of a Header or Footer is something that is required to appear on every page of your document. As the names suggest, a Header is something that will appear at the top of every page, and a Footer is something that will appear at the bottom of the page. In Excel, you can have only one Header and one Footer in each Worksheet. The Header/Footer Dialog box can be accessed through the Page Setup dialog box, or via the View menu on your Standard Worksheet menu bar.

Let us first create a Header for the data that we wish to print.

Now you are back in your Page Setup dialog box, notice that your header is in the top white box, and also under the heading Header.

To the right of the second white box is a downward pointing drop down arrow. This contains some built-in headers. If you wanted to, you could select a build-in header, then go to Custom Header to use it for your Worksheet.

Footers work in exactly the same way so letís put a footer in now

The last section of the Page Setup dialog box that we need to look at is under the Sheet heading


The top area of this box is greyed out. If something is greyed out within Excel, this is because the options are not available in the area in which you are in. The options at the top of this box are only available if you access the Page Setup dialog box via the File menu as mentioned above.

The only options we need to look at here are the ones under Print.


If you select Gridlines the gridlines of your Excel Worksheet will print.

If you select Black and White, your data will be printed in Black and white only (if you have color in it, it will appear as grey shading).

If you select Draft Quality your data will be printed in draft quality.

If you select Row and Column Headings then the row and column headings (A, B, C, 1, 2, 3 etc) will be printed.

Page Order

You have two options here; Down then Over and Over then Down. Selecting one of these options will control the way data is numbered and printed when it does not fit on one page.

Let us select OK now to return us to Print Preview mode to have a look at our nearly ready to print Worksheet.

You will notice that you can now see the Header and Footer that we placed in our Worksheet.

Now hit your Next button and you will notice that the row that appears at the top of page 1 (Jan, Feb, 1st Quarter etc) does not appear at the top of page 2. We can easily change this by doing the following.

Once a document has been saved with itís print settings, you only need to press the Print icon on the Standard Toolbar to print. This will by-pass Print Dialog box and send your Worksheet straight to the printer.

As we stated at the beginning of this lesson, printing is an essential part of Excel. Even in these days of a paperless office, we need to be able to efficiently present data that people can understand and use to itís fullest capacity. Our personal preference is to use Print Preview first to set up how a worksheet would look, although you need to be aware that not all options in the Page Setup dialog box are available to you by doing it this way. You can access the Page Setup dialog box via the File menu and have all options discussed here available, but at the end of the day, it is up to you which way you use.

Printing Workbooks

If you have quite a few Workbooks to print, go to File>Open from within Excel, select the Workbook(s) uisng the Ctrl key, then right click and choose Print. Got any Excel Questions? Free Excel Help

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