How To Master Excel Spreadsheet Printing

How to get the spreadsheet you want on paper

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You slave over cell after cell after cell in your spreadsheet until it's perfect. When it comes time to print out that perfection, you get blank pages, missing sections, and weird formatting. You can blame your printer, but the problem is almost always in Excel. Jen Darr of PC Helps sent the details for this lesson.

Check your paper size, page orientation, and margin settings first. File > Page Setup (2007 users Page Layout tab > Page Setup dialog box launch button). Make sure the page size (in the Page tab) is 8x5 x 11 (most common) or whatever your paper actually is. A4 for Europeans? No problem, just make sure what you have loaded is the paper size listed.

Go to the Margins tab and make sure your margins match the page margins you want. Your printer probably needs at least a quarter inch, so pick a half inch. For readability, pick an inch margin all around, which is probably what your Word margins are.

Go to the Sheet tab, and define your print area or leave it blank. When blank, Excel sets the boundaries of the print area based on the number of cells filled. “Empty” data cells will mess up the printout range. Save your changes by clicking OK.

Finding cells with empty data isn't hard, but make sure your file is saved before your start testing. Once saved, press Ctlr+End. Your focus will move to the last row and column with data inside. If that cell is empty, and outside the range you expect, some empty data needs clearing.

Select the area that contains empty data. Click Edit > Clear > All (Excel 2007 use Home > Editing Group > Clear All). Resave your document, although the most paranoid among us will save under a different name just in case. Press Ctrl+End again, and verify your print range is where you expect. If so, print. If not, keep clearing those empty data fields.

Once again, thanks to Jen Darr for the voice of experience from the support trenches.

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