Excel 2007/2010 has many very useful features including working with data, lists and charts, but equally important are the Page Layout features which help you organize Excel to created printed results. This article describes how to use the Page Layout tab and Page Layout views to create effective results.

Suppose you've created a relatively large worksheet which if printed will print using several pages. If you choose Print Preview, Excel will obligingly show you the worksheet divided over several printed pages. Close print preview and you'll see the dark dotted line guidelines on the worksheet corresponding to the page breaks.

If your worksheet is just over one page in size, you could use the Excel option to shrink the font size to make the work fit one page. To do this you choose the Page Layout tab. Then in the bottom right of the Page Setup area click the small down facing arrow. This opens the Page Setup dialogue box. Choose Fit To, then click OK to finish.

The worksheet still looks the same on the screen, but now if you choose Print Preview you'll see the worksheet neatly fits to one page. However the price you pay is that Excel has shrunk everything to do this. Alternatively you can specify how many pages you want Excel to shrink the workbook to. You can always see the shrunk percentage if you look in the Adjust To setting. If the resulting print preview is too small, you can change this percentage back to 100%. and click OK to return to the original settings.

The Page Layout tab contains commands to change page settings such as Page Size, margins, orientation, headers and footers. If you change the page size, for example from Letter to A4, the margins will automatically update.

You can also adjust margins yourself using the Custom Margin option, for example, if you want to reduce the margins in a particular worksheet to print slightly wider than normal. Any Page Layout settings you make are only applied to that worksheet, so you can have several worksheets in one workbook all with different page layout settings. If you do change any settings, apart from the dotted line indicating page breaks, the worksheet appearance does not change. If you do want to see the changes you need to use the Page Layout View.

To do this, choose the View tab then select Page Layout view. Now you'll see headers, footers and margins details as well as the worksheet, but split over different pages. You can change page layout settings directly in this view if you wish. For example if you hover over the upper part of the left hand ruler bar, just where the white changes to grey, you can drag higher or lower to change top margins. Or if you click once into the header box, you can type in header text. You can then click back into the worksheet to update the header.

Sometimes you may want to add your own page breaks in a worksheet, perhaps between particular columns or rows. Before you do add any page breaks, ensure the setting in the Page Layout dialogue box is NOT at Fit To, but Adjust to. You can then add a break in Page Layout view by selecting a row, or column, and then clicking Breaks, Insert Page Break. Because you're in Page Layout View you'll then see the workbook break over separate pages. You can also delete a page break by selecting a cell in the row just under, or the column just to the right, of the break, and choose Breaks, Remove Page Break.

An alternative way to manage page breaks is to use the Page Break view. To show this view, choose the View tab, then in the far left of the tab choose Page Break View. The worksheet will then display, usually zoomed out, with blue broken lines indicating the breaks. You need to click OK on the Welcome to Page Break View prompt. If you then hover over a broken blue break line you can drag it to a new position.

The worksheet does not change in appearance in this view, just the break positions, so you can easily scroll through the entire worksheet to create, change or delete breaks. To add a break in Page Break view select a cell where you want the break to occur, right click, and choose Insert Page Break. Then once the breaks are complete you can select Normal View in the View tab to restore the worksheet appearance.

So you can manage Page Layouts either by using the Page Layout dialogue box in Page Layout View, or directly in Page Layout View. In addition you can manage breaks in the Page Break View. If you do intend to add, remove or change breaks, remember to ensure that you've not chosen Fit To in the Page Layout dialogue box. If you're interested in developing further skills in using Excel why not think about attending a training course. There are lots available and this can be a really effective way to really increase your Excel skills.