How to Set Print Scaling in Excel

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  • 0:01 Scale to Fit Print Options
  • 1:06 Using the Print Settings
  • 3:55 Using the Page Layout Menu
  • 5:23 Scaling Using Percentages
  • 6:13 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Karen Sorensen

Karen has a Bachelors in Communications. She has 25 years of experience in Information Systems, Adult Learning and Virtual Training.

You can use the scaling feature in Excel to limit the number of pages wide and/or tall when you go to print the spreadsheet. This lesson will discuss the different Scale to Fit options and explain how to apply scaling to documents you print from Excel.

Scale to Fit Print Options

When you think of scaling to fit, especially when using MS Excel, the first thing that comes to mind is to shrink the content so it fits on one piece of paper. However, scaling means to shrink or enlarge. For instance, you can shrink the content to fit, making it smaller, or you can scale the content in order to magnify the content, making it bigger and easier to read.

I have to admit, sometimes printing from Excel can get frustrating. You either end up with one row or column leaking onto a second page, or you get it to fit on one page and the data is too small to read. But understanding all options available when using the feature in Excel can make things a bit easier.

There are two ways to access the Scale to Fit options. You can modify the settings under the Page Layout menu in the ribbon or access the options by going to the Print Settings. This lesson will review the scaling feature, explain the different options you have and guide you through the steps to using the tool.

Using the Print Settings

One way to adjust the scaling for print is to go to the File menu in the ribbon and click on the Print command. There are several options for your print settings, but if you go to the bottom of the list, you will see the Scale to Fit option. By default, Excel sets the option to 'No Scaling.' Click on the more icon (upside-down triangle) to expand the drop-down menu. Notice we have four more options:

  1. Fit on one page
  2. Fit all columns on one page
  3. Fit all rows on one page
  4. Customize scaling options

Imagine we have a spreadsheet that contains a list of information detailing company employees. Before we can go selecting different options for scaling our printout, we need to consider how we want the finished printed page to look. The first response for most people is to select 'Fit on One Page.' But if we take a look at our spreadsheet, we have over 100 rows of data (see this on the video beginning at 02:09). If we shrink the entire spreadsheet to fit on one page, the information will be too small to read.

The print orientation has been set to landscape and currently, the print preview shows eight pages. However, the last four pages display only the last two columns of our spreadsheet. What we need to do is get those two last pesky columns to display on the first four pages. This would allow us to cut the pages to print in half - from eight to four. It would also help us create a more organized look and make it easier for the reader to view the information. We can make this happen by using the Scale to Fit feature. Of the four options we have to choose from, 'Fit All Columns on One Page' will be perfect. Let's review step by step.

  1. Go to the File menu in the ribbon.
  2. Click on the Print command.
  3. Open the Scale to Fit drop-down box.
  4. Select 'Fit All Columns on One Page.'

To the right of the print settings is the Print Preview. Notice that the page numbers went from eight to four. If you use the next button to page through, you can see that each page includes all of the columns (please see the video beginning at 03:19 to see the two actions noted above).

Sometimes, it is easy to select the first option, which is to 'Fit on One Page.' In our example, if we would have chosen that option, the content would have been so tiny, it would have been impossible to read the printout.

Keep something in mind. When we make changes using the scaling options, we are modifying only the print layout. Changing the options in the Scale to Fit tools does not affect the standard spreadsheet view on the screen.

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