Print in Excel

Printing in Excel is easy but something many Excel beginners can struggle with, if you are new to Microsoft Excel and are finding it difficult to print your worksheet, or get your worksheet to fit neatly onto a printed page then read on and learn the basics of printing in Excel…

Printing in Excel

A lot of Excel Beginners struggle with printing worksheets because Excel worksheets are not like typical documents, PDF or Word documents for example.  Excel worksheets do not  always conform neatly to an A4 layout which tends to be the standard printing paper used in 99% of homes and offices.

Excel worksheets can expand across an area that is much larger than a typical A4 sheet or the layout of you can end up with the majority of your document on one page and a small section on the other, this is not a very user-friendly option and it certainly does nothing to boost your profile as an Excel analyst!

To Print from Excel

At the very basic level in order to print from Excel click on the File menu tab from the Excel Ribbon.  This can be found at the top of the Excel window in the far left corner as shown below:

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The next step is to select the Print Menu as shown in the below image:

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Then finally with the Print menu open you can click on the large Print button found towards the top of the window as shown in the next image.  The Printer that your document will be sent to is shown in the box below that button (called Printer funnily enough!) and obviously you must have a Printer connected to your Computer otherwise printing is impossible!

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By default the Active Worksheet will be printed, that is the Worksheet you had selected when you began the Print process.

If all of that seems a bit long-winded then you can always set up a custom Print button on the Ribbon or simply get directly to the Print Menu with the shortcut command of CTRL+P (that means press and hold the CTRL Key and then press the letter P).

Two VERY important things to learn when Printing in Excel

The first additional piece of knowledge every Excel beginner should pick up and understand is how to set Print Areas in Excel.  Setting a Print Area defines the exact range of cells that you want to Print and saves Excel from guessing and printing a lot of useless empty space.  Setting the Print Area is very easy.

The first step in setting the Print area in Excel is to highlight the area on the Worksheet that you want to Print.  Highlighting the cells can be done by selecting the top-left cell in your Print area, holding down the left mouse button and dragging the mouse across the entire Area you want to Print, you will know it has highlighted as the Excel cells will change to a blue colour.

This is the original worksheet:

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And now with the Print Area selected it becomes highlighted:

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With the Print area selected the next step is to click on Page Layout on the Excel Ribbon, followed by Print Area and Set Print Area:

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The Print Area has now been fully set!

But wait…

I did mention there are two important techniques to learn and that is only one, let’s look at the next step…

How to fit your Excel data to a single page

After the Print Area was set a dotted line appeared on the Worksheet, this is indicating the Print Margin Excel will currently use when it Prints the Worksheet.  In the example the Margin goes right through the middle of the Chart and that means half of the chart will be on one printed page and the other half will be on another printed page, totally useless unless you like using sticky tape to create your printed reports!

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To fix this and ensure all of the range fits onto a single page first click on the arrow within the Page Setup box on the Excel Ribbon:

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This will open the Page Setup options box and all you need to do is select the Scaling option to fit to 1 page wide by 1 page tall:

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From the Page Setup box you can either click on OK or simply click on Print and your range will now appear on a single page, that’s much better!

Additional Printing Considerations

There are so many options when it comes to Printing from Excel this guide just covers the very basics that a new Excel user should learn.  Other factors to consider are:

  • Changing the page Orientation so your printed page is Landscape (wide) rather than the standard Portrait (tall). Excel Worksheets often look much better when printed in Landscape format and to change Excel to print that way select Landscape from the Orientation section in the Page Setup Options (the final image shown above).
  • Sometimes your Excel worksheet is just too big to fit onto one page whether Portrait or Landscape. You may have to adjust the scaling or fit across multiple printed pages but in this case consider the end user, will this make it easy for them to read?  As with the previous consideration you can change the Scaling and number of pages in the Page Setup Options.
  • Always consider, Do you really need to Print? Many offices have made the move to paperless for a number of reasons such as reducing costs, helping to protect the environment and improved confidentiality.  Even if you are using Excel for personal use at home think about whether you really need a paper copy of what you are doing, I am betting that most of the time you will have no need!

Hopefully this has shown any Excel novices how easy it is to Print in Excel and ensure your data is displayed neatly on a single page.  I am confident with this basic knowledge and a little additional time you will have no problems with printing your Excel reports going forward.

Keep Excelling,

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