Page 10 of 23PREVNEXT

So that's how! Printing options in Excel

Two choices for page printing order: print down, then over and print over, then down

Excel automatically prints worksheets down and then over, but you can change the print order so that Excel prints over and then down.

Sometimes you just can't fit all the columns on every page. A few columns go onto a page by themselves, and that can lead to some confusion when you print. Say that you are looking at a multiple-page worksheet in print preview. You click Next to view each page. As you do, you see two full pages of data, then you see a half page, followed by a full page. Why did that half page appear in the middle? (If you already know about this, go ahead and skip this section.)

It has to do with the order in which pages are printed in Excel. This can be a bit of a puzzle when you first see it in print preview, and when you pick up your pages from the printer.

A big worksheet has to print down many rows and sideways many columns, with some printed pages containing different columns than other pages. The printout divides the worksheet horizontally and vertically. Excel splits worksheets that run wide and long by printing pages down, and then over. That's called (surprise!) Down, then over.

Excel prints all the rows in one set of columns down to the bottom of the worksheet. Then Excel goes back up to the top, moves over, and prints down the next set of columns to the bottom, and so on, until all the data is printed. And that half page in the middle of the preview? It's the bottom of the first set of columns.

For example, if a worksheet has 10 columns, A through J, and 204 rows, Excel might print columns A through E, rows 1 through 204, and then print columns F through J, rows 1 through 204. If it printed forty rows per page, the sixth page would have only four rows on it.

If you want to, you can change this order, so that Excel prints first over, and then down. In print preview, click Setup (or in normal view, on the File menu, click Page Setup), and then click the Sheet tab. Under Page order, click Over, then down.

Then, for the same example worksheet, Excel would first print all the way across: forty rows of columns A through E on one page, followed by forty rows of columns F through J on the next page. On the third page, it would print forty more rows of columns A through E, and then those same rows of F through E on the fourth page, and so on until it reached the end.

Page 10 of 23PREVNEXT