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If you’re using an Excel spreadsheet that contains a large amount of data or many columns, it can sometimes be difficult to adjust the layout of ths to achieve a professional finish when printed. In Excel 2007 and 2010, there are some handy tools in the form of the ‘Page Layout View’ that you can use to manipulate your data to look good on a page. Following on from our previous article on this subject, today we’ll look at showing and hiding gridlines, fine tuning your worksheet for printing and setting page breaks.

Viewing and hiding gridlines

Gridlines are displayed in an excel workbook by default and won’t be printed when you print your worksheet (unless you want them to!). However, sometimes you will want to hide them for a more professional look on screen as well as off. To hide gridlines  first you need to  click the worksheet that you want to change in this view and then on the ‘View‘ tab deselect the ‘Gridlines’ option which is found under the ‘Show’ group. In this option group you can also choose to show or hide headers, rulers or the formula bar.

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Setting page breaks

Page breaks can be a cause of confusion for people who don’t understand how they work, but they are quite an important thing to know about when you are setting up your pages for print.

Page breaks are used to show you where the content of your document will break and move onto the next page. There is obviously only so much content that can be fit onto one page at a time, but sometimes you may want to manipulate this manually in order to improve the flow and readability of your document, especially when printed.

Page breaks can de defined as ‘manual’ or ‘automatic’. Automatic being the default breaks that are set by the program when you are creating your document. Manual page breaks are those set by the user.

Take the document below. Whilst there’s no problem with including all of the data one on page and having it spill over to the next. It would be useful to be able to print section 1 on the first page and section 2 on the second.

To do this, we go again to ‘Page Layout’ tab and you will find ‘Breaks’ located under the ‘Page Setup’ group.

To set a page break here, we select the row below where we want to insert the page break and then under ‘Breaks’ select ‘Insert Page Break’. To remove a page break, follow the same process and select ‘Remove Page Break’ You will then see your data split and move to the start of the next page. We’ll be covering page breaks in greater detail in a future article if you want to know more.

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Fine tuning your document

So now you’ve aligned your data, set the page orientation and made it look good on the page, all you need to do is add the finishing touches so that it’s good to print.

Setting a title row or column

To add a title row to your page, select ‘Page Layout’ tab and ‘Print Titles’ the resulting dialog box gives you many options to set up your document.

To set your heading row to print at the top of each page, enter the row reference(s) for this data in the box titled ‘rows to reapeat at top of page’ you can also choose to display a column on the left of each page by entering column references in the corresponding box.

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Setting print order

In this dialog box you can also choose which direction you want the data to print. The is especially useful if it is going to be split over more than one page wide and you choose to print the pages from left to right and then top bottom or vice versa simply by selecting the relevent option.

Print gridlines and headings

Most of the time, you won’t want gridlines and row and column headings to be a part of your printed document, however sometimes this is important and you can choose whether to print gridlines and page headings all just by checking the relevent boxes.

Setting headers and footers

To set information into the header or footer areas of your document, in the same ‘Page Setup’ dialog box, select the tab named ‘Header/Footer’ from here you will see the options to select suggested values from a drop down list or your can customise this information by clicking the ‘custom header’ or ‘custom footer’ buttons.

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Adding a background

Finally, how about adding a background to jazz up your printed document, or perhaps to add a watermark or company logo. Do this by selecting ‘Page Layout’ tab and ‘Background’ under the ‘Page Setup’ group. Navigate to the image that you want to add as a background and click ‘ok’. You’ll then see your image added as a background to your document.

Once you’re done, you should have a perfectly presented document for printing. The best way to learn about all of these features is to have a go for yourself they can always be un-set as well as set so don’t be scared to have a go!

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