Even Though we are progressing towards a paperless society, the majority of executives still print the documents you send them. They may print them to bring them into meetings or to share with someone else. I have seen many a corporate manager print a new spreadsheet they received from their staff analyst only to become angered standing at the printer that one page in the Excel file printed out on four separate pages. The graph you spent an hour designing ends up in the trash because when printed, half the year is on page one and half on page two.  Don’t let this scenario happen to you by following these simple best practices for page setup:

  1. Use “Print Preview”
  2. Set the print area
  3. Print a test page

Number one is to use print preview (file=>print preview). Holding down ctrl, select every sheet in your workbook then select print preview. Check that every sheet in your workbook is setup properly in print preview mode. Typically, each worksheet should print on one page. If the data on the sheet does not fit, you can play with setup from within the print preview window. In the scaling section of the setup window there is an option called fit to 1 page wide by 1 page tall, select this option to have Excel autofit your worksheet to one page. It may make sense to show your pages in landscape view. This is often the case when you have wide charts or side by side charts. If you select landscape on one page, make sure it is selected on all pages.

The number 2 best practice is to use “set print area” (file=>print area=>set print area). The print area option allows you to define the area that excel will print. You can and should use it to avoid material that should not be printed.  To set the print area, highlight the area of the worksheet you want to appear on the printed page, go to  file=>print area=>set print area.

The number 3 best practice is to print a test page. This is the simplest but most often overlooked of the best practices. You should always look at your work as your audience would. Assume everyone will print out your workbook, would you be as happy with it as you are with it in electronic format?

Following these simple best practices will save you time and possible problems.

Joseph Harris
Excel Articles
Excel Help

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This entry was posted on Monday, December 15th, 2008 at 1:06 pm and is filed under Business Analyst. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

2 Responses to “Print Area and Print Preview – Analyst Best Practices”

  1. serdarb on January 7th, 2009 at 6:04 am

    very nice post…

  2. Dan on February 2nd, 2009 at 2:58 pm


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