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Printing in Excel: How to Configure Workbooks to Print

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  • 0:01 Printing Excel Documents
  • 1:00 Workbook vs. Worksheet
  • 1:30 How to Print an Excel Workbook
  • 3:02 Tips to Printing Excel…
  • 5:01 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.

Trying to print an Excel spreadsheet? Wondering what the difference is between a workbook and a worksheet? This lesson will explain the difference, guide you through printing a workbook and share a few tips when printing from MS Excel.

Printing Excel Documents

Imagine you just spent the entire day working on an Excel workbook for your boss. It's full of data and looks great. The formatting is done nicely. It's well organized and up-to-date. The boss would like a hard copy, so you print the document, and it looks awful. Not only that, only one page printed.

Excel spreadsheets don't always look that great on the printed page. Usually because the content just doesn't fit an 8-1/2 X 11 piece of paper. Spreadsheets are used for data - lots of data. We add formulas, figures, text and titles. The application is built so that you can have hundreds of columns and rows. In other words, you can make it as big as you need it to be. As a result, when you go to print, the hard copy or printed page doesn't look anything like what you see on the screen.

This lesson will explain the steps to printing a workbook from MS Excel. I will also share some tips to printing Excel documents.

Workbook vs. Worksheet

Before we look at the steps, let's review the difference between the term 'worksheet' and 'workbook.'

A workbook is the entire Excel file. Some refer to their Excel file as a spreadsheet, but technically, a spreadsheet is one page in a workbook, which is called a worksheet. This means that you can have multiple spreadsheets, or worksheets, within a workbook.

Excel gives you many options in order to print just what you want. You can print a part of a worksheet, an entire worksheet, selected worksheets or the entire workbook.

How to Print an Excel Workbook

Okay, now let's take a look at how to print the entire workbook. In the lesson video, we have a workbook for the Smith Family Budget. If you look across the bottom of the spreadsheet, you will see a worksheet for 2012, 2013 and 2014:

Workbook for the Smith Family Budget
workbook for example

Keep in mind the terms we just learned. Each year is a worksheet, and all the years make up a workbook.

We will need to print all three years to print the entire workbook. So, does this mean that we need to perform three different print jobs? Definitely not! Let's take a look at the steps.

  1. Open the workbook that you want to print.
  2. Go to the File menu in the ribbon.
  3. Click on the Print command.
  4. Look in the Settings options.
  5. Change Print Active Sheets to Print Entire Workbook (Excel always defaults to Active Sheets).
  6. Click on the Print button.

By selecting 'Print Entire Workbook' in step five, Excel will print all worksheets in the document.

Tips to Printing Excel Documents

Now, let's review a few tips to help you get the desired look for your printed page.

Tip number one: Always preview your document before you print. On the right-hand side of the print options page, Excel provides a nice preview window of our document. This is a good place to double-check what the hard copy will look like. Also, notice in the lower, left-hand portion of the preview, the number of pages that will print is displayed:

Number of pages to print
print preview in Excel

Check the preview as you change printing and layout options to make sure your spreadsheet looks the way you want.

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