Printing: Shrinking it to fit the page

Once you’ve seen how your printout is going to look, it’s time to decide how to deal with it if it doesn’t look right. Fortunately, if it’s only a little wide or a little too tall, some spreadsheets have a way to quickly and easily fix that problem: you can tell it to shrink or scale the printout to fit the page.

The result is very similar to what it would be if you manually went through and shrank the text, column widths, and row heights by the exact same percentage. But that’s a lot of work, especially if things aren’t all the same sizes to start with. Sometimes it’s worth adjusting things manually if you want to shrink some things more than other things, but usually if I’ve got it the way I want it and it’s just a little too large, I’ll just scale it to fit the page.

There does, of course, come a point when the program will just throw up its figurative hands and ignore your instructions. If you try to shrink a 100-page printout to a single page, for example, the print would be so small that most printers couldn’t print it legibly. Some might try to fit just the page width or the page height, but that’s not a guarantee. However, in many programs you can also manually tell it to just fit the width or just fit the height, rather than letting it decide for itself.

Across all programs:if it asks for a percentage, then that’s the percentage of the current size it will print at. 100% won’t change anything, 101% will be a slight increase in size, and 99% will be a slight decrease. If it asks for a number, however, it’s asking for a maximum. If you tell it to print something that’s only 1 page wide at 2 pages wide, you’ll still get you only one page.

As always, every program has its own way of doing this.

In Excel 97:

  1. Click on the header for the File menu or type alt-f.
  2. In the menu that opens, click on “Page setup” or type u.
  3. In the pop-up window, click on the “Page” tab.
  4. In the “Scaling” section (2nd from the top), either select the percent you want it changed, or tell it to fit to a specified number of pages tall & pages wide.

In Excel 2007:

See Excel 2010.

In Excel 2010:

  1. Click on the “Page Layout” tab or type alt-p.
  2. Locate the “Page Setup” group, and click the arrow in the bottom right corner, or type “sp”.
  3. In the window that pops up, click on the “Page” tab.
  4. Halfway down the “Page” tab, there’s a section for scaling. You can use the options there to shrink or expand the printout, either by changing the percentage or by specifying how many pages tall and how many pages wide the printout should be.

Note: You can get to the same menu by going to the print previw, and looking at the bottom option in the section between the “File” menu and the preview.

In Google Spreadsheet:

  1. Click on the “File” header, then on “Print” OR click on the printer icon OR type ctrl-p.
  2. In the window that appears, immediately above the “OK” button on the left there’s a section for “Layout”. You can tell the program to shrink the printout to be only as wide as a single sheet.

In OpenOffice Calc:

  1. Click on the “Format” header or type alt-o.
  2. Click on “Page” or type p.
  3. At the bottom of the pop-up window, select the scaling mode you want, then set the value(s) for that mode. “Reduce/Enlarge printout” needs a percentage value, but “Fit print range(s) to width/height” and “Fit print range(s) on number of pages” need maximum values for their respective measurements.

In Microsoft Works Spreadsheet:

Microsoft Works does not seem to have a way to do this.