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Mastering Page Layout In Excel
Tue 19th January 2010
Orientation works the same way as it does in other Office programs - landscape or portrait, selected from the Page Layout command (in Office 2007, this is a tab on the ribbon). It's worth noting that Office will default everything to portrait (longer vertically), which isn't conducive to viewing an Excel spreadsheet, if you've got more than three or four columns. Changing it to landscape is an easy start in beginning to make page layout work for you.
Scale is something that people often understand when viewing their document (if only to make text zoomed in bigger so they can read it if they left the reading glasses at home), but it can work wonderfully well when trying to fit your Excel data on to one page when you're printing it. It should be at 100% as a default, but you can go back to the Page Layout command (or tab), and use either the scale to fit command (shrinking the data to fit on one sheet by "nudging" it), or the fit-to-page. This is all well and good to use, unless you have lots of data, in which case it will shrink so far in order to fit, it will be unviewable on just one page. Your other options are to reduce the page margins (best done manually with the built-in ruler as a guide - also present in Word), or to alter the header and footer of a document, which is also under the Page Layout command.
Ocassionally you will be left with the problem that your worksheet is just too big. Excel has the option to split your data onto other "panes", and confusingly, this is under the View tab (or command), rather than page layout. It may be worth noting that in Excel, you CAN see where the page breaks are - they usually appear as dotted lines under the Print Preview function, so you can see if you're over it by one column, row or need to make more adjustments. Remember you can also adjust the size of your columns by dragging them a little tighter to what the cells contain, all giving you more precious millimetres when trying to make the page print out beautifully.
Most of the problems discussed here are as a result of trying to print a document. In today's environmentally-conscious office world, it may be better to email your spreadsheet around, or perhaps summarise your data in a PowerPoint presentation and hold a meeting about it. This is far more interesting and makes you stand out and be noticed -as will your data, when you lay it out perfectly and neatly every time - because you've got the know-how.
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