Printing: Setting the edges of the page

One thing I neglected to mention in my post about common problems is what to do when your printout breaks your table at an inconvenient place. For example, it might be that you’re stuck with just one column or row on another page, and would rather it wasn’t all by its lonesone. It might be that it’s breaking an alphabetical list in the middle of one starting letter, and you’d rather everything starting with that letter was on the same page. Alternatively, if there was a significant gap between letters… say there were a bunch of A through N, and then nothing until S, you might want to have some of N on the same page as the start of the S’s, so readers don’t flip back and forth wondering if there’s a missing page with O through R.

When this happens you can insert a page break to tell the program to start a new page at that location, rather than after the maximum number of rows of columns that will fit on the page.

You might be familiar with page breaks already from word processors. If you’re not, and you’re just hitting enter a lot to get to the start of a new page: try ctrl-enter next time. It’ll insert what’s called a page break, which will make it a lot easier if you have to adjust something later.

However, page breaks in spreadsheets are somewhat different from page breaks in word processors, because word processors only have to worry about up and down. Spreadsheets have to worry both about up/down and about left/right. So when you create a page break in a spreadsheet, you have to worry about both directions too.

There are some general things that are true across all spreadsheets.

  • Getting started: To place a page break, start by selecting a cell. The break will be placed between the row you choose and the row above it, and/or between the column of the cell you select and the column to its left. In other words, if you do both row and column then the cell you select will end up in the upper-left corner of the new page.
  • Right/Left break only: If you want to only change which columns end/start a page, then select a cell in the top row.
  • Up/Down break only: If you want to only change which rows end/start a page, then select a cell in the leftmost column.
  • Multiple breaks: You can have multiple breaks in a single worksheet, but they will all span the entire height/width of it. If you had two tables on the same page, one above the other, you couldn’t put a break between columns D/E for one, and E/F for the other. If you tried, you’d end up with one page with columns A-D on page 1, E on page 2, and F-whatever on page 3.
  • Removing breaks: Unless otherwise specified, to remove a break, follow the instructions for inserting a break. The menu with “insert” should also have “remove”.

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

In Excel 97:

  1. Click on the “Insert” header or type alt-i.
  2. Click on “Page Break” or type b.

In Excel 2007:

See Excel 2010.

In Excel 2010:

  1. Click on the “Page Layout” tab or type alt-p.
  2. In the “Page Setup” group, click “Breaks” or type b.
  3. In the drop-down menu that appears, clik on “Insert Page Break” or type i.

In Google Spreadsheet:

There’s instructions in the help file for how to insert/remove breaks in spreadsheets, but they don’t seem to be valid – they probably were for Google Docs, and haven’t been updated for Google Drive, or some such. Therefore for now, I have to say that manually setting page breaks isn’t possible in Google Spreadsheet.

In OpenOffice Calc:

  1. Click on the “Insert” header or type alt-i.
  2. Click on “Manual Break” or type m.
  3. Click on “Row Break” or type r, -OR- click on “Column Break” or type c.

Note: To remove a break in Open Office Calc, go to the “Edit” header, and click on “Delete Manual Break” or type b. Then select which type you want to remove.

In Microsoft Works Spreadsheet:

  1. Click on the “Insert” header or type alt-i.
  2. Click on “Insert Page Break” or type k.
  3. Choose whether to insert it above or to the left of the selected cell. If you want to do both, repeat these steps.
  4. Click on “OK”.