Print Preview

Printing in Excel can sometimes be complicated. Learn about Excel printing, including setting the right print area, in this lesson.

Introduction

By the end of this lesson, you should be able to:

Print Preview

Print Preview allows you to see how your file looks before you print, preventing a waste of paper and ink.

To use Print Preview:

  • Click the Print Preview button on the Standard toolbar. Print Preview button
  • In Print Preview mode, the document is sized so the entire page is visible on the screen.

In the preview window, the text in your document appears small. Don't strain your eyes trying to read text in this window. Excel assumes you already proofread your spreadsheet, so data is not editable from this screen. Here, you're simply checking the overall formatting and layout.

For a better view of data while in Print Preview:

  • Click the zoom button.
  • The text becomes larger and easier to read onscreen.
  • Click the zoom button again. The text becomes smaller.
  • Click Close to return the document to Normal view.

Print Preview window

The Print Preview toolbar

On the previous page, you learned about the zoom function in Print Preview mode. Let's zoom in and take a look at the Print Preview toolbar:

Print Preview toolbar

Next/Previous

These features are available when you're using a workbook with multiple sheets.

Zoom

You can view details in your spreadsheet.

Print

Use this to print your document.

Setup

This opens the Page Setup dialog box with the Sheet tab displayed.

Margins

Margins appear as dotted lines. Point to any of the margin lines, and the pointer changes to an double-arrowed adjustment tool. Drag the margin you want to change to its new location.

Page Break Preview

This shows you what and in what order pages will be printed.

Close

Use this to exit or close Print Preview.

Adjust Margins in Print Preview

Defining page breaks using Print Preview

The gray space between two pages is called a page break. You typically won't have to worry about page breaks because Excel automatically inserts soft page breaks when necessary. However, hard page breaks allow you to fine tune the appearance of your document. They are particularly useful when you want to begin a new section of your document.

When you turn on Page Break Preview (available on the Print Preview toolbar), the Office Assistant appears, telling you that you can adjust page breaks by clicking and dragging the edge of the page break with your mouse. Page Break Preview shows you what and in what order pages are printed.

Page Break Preview

Important PointAreas that are printed are white; areas that won't be printed are gray.

Using Page Break Preview

To turn on Page Break Preview:

  • Choose Viewlesson actionPage Break Preview from the menu bar.
  • In Print Preview mode, the document is sized so the entire page is visible on the screen.

OR

  • Click the Page Break Preview button while in Print Preview mode.

To adjust a page break:

  • In Page Break Preview, adjust the breaks by dragging the page break if a worksheet prints on multiple pages.

To add a hard page break:

  • In Page Break Preview, select the first row or column you want to appear in the page after the hard break.
  • Right-click and choose Insert Page Break from the shortcut menu.

Insert Page Break

To remove a hard page break:

  • Right-click in the row below the horizontal page break.
  • Choose Remove Page Break from the shortcut menu.

Remove Page Break

Important PointTo return to Normal view, choose ViewLesson ActionNormal from the menu bar.

Important PointPage Break Preview is only useful if you are dealing with multi-page worksheets.

Challenge!

  • Open an Excel document.
  • Click the Print Preview button on the Standard toolbar.
  • Click the zoom button to get a better view of your data. Remember, it cannot be edited in Print Preview mode.
  • Click the Margins button and adjust the margins by clicking and dragging the dotted lines.
  • Click the Page Break Preview button and observe Page Break Preview mode.
  • Return to Normal view.