By Bob Umlas, Excel MVP

Last time with the Page Layout tab, we left off with the “Breaks” icon. Next is the “Background” icon. This puts a graphic in the background of the sheet. This background does not print, it merely shows on the physical viewing of the sheet on your computer screen. When you click it, you get this dialog:


From here, you can find an image from a file which already exists in your computer, or from a Bing image search, or from the cloud or Facebook! Here, a Bing Image search for “candy” yielded this result:


When the top right picture of candy corn is selected, and you click the Insert button, you see this:


Notice that the command “Background” became “Delete Background”.  If you use this command, be sure to have your image be a light one because it’s very difficult to see any data! Did you notice the $145.00 in cell H15?

The next command is the Print Titles command. When you click this command, you get this dialog:


Above shows that row 1 will be repeated at the top of each printed page. Notice the dotted line after row 55. This indicates where the page break will occur. This is a “natural” page break, as opposed to one which you set by clicking on the “Breaks” command (which would show as a solid line). Without setting the print titles, page 2 and beyond would not have column headings. Setting this command to row 1 ensures the headings will show at the top of each page.

Print titles can only be entire row(s) and/or entire column(s). For example, if $1:$2 were selected as the “Rows to repeat at the top” then the empty row 2 would also be apart of the rows repeated at the top of each page. In addition, if $A:$A were selected as “Columns to repeat at left” then that would print at the left of every page. The order of the printout can be Down then over or Over than down, as seen in the dialog.

This command shows the same dialog as the Custom Margins dialog (seen in Part 1 of 3), except the “Sheet” tab is the active one instead of the “Margins” tab.

This dialog, also known as the Page Setup dialog, can also be seen by clicking the little “dialog launcher” arrow under the Print Titles:


Here, you can access any of the 4 tabs of the Page Setup, which includes all the commands we’ve been showing in the Page Layout tab, so it’s the most powerful of all these commands because it’s all in one place. We’ve seen the Margin and Sheet tabs already, so here are the other 2 tabs:

  1. The Page tab, where you can set portrait or landscape, the zoom factor of the printout (shrink so more will print on one page, or expand so less will print), how to fit the printout (for example, if you see that it takes 2 pages to print everything but the 2nd page has 3 rows only, you can click the “Fit to” option to force it to print on one page), the paper size, print quality, and what to use as the first page number (1 being the default). You can also remove the value in the number of pages wide or tall, and then Excel will adjust as necessary. For example, if you set it to be 1 page wide by (blank) pages tall, then it will print as many pages as necessary but will be one page wide.
  2. The Header/Footer tab, where you can set what shows on the header and/or footer of each page.


Next we will be examining this last tab as well as the remaining items related to printing!

Bob will be presenting on “The Magic of Macros” at IPM Day 2016, going live November 3. Learn more about IPM Day here, and register with promo code BLOG for 10% off. 

bob-img-ipmd2015Bob Umlas has been voted an “MVP” (Most Valuable Professional) by Microsoft each year since 1994 for his contributions to Excel online forums and he is known world-wide for his expertise. As an MVP, he meets yearly with fellow MVPs at Microsoft’s headquarters in Redmond, where he has access to the product developers. He has also been a beta tester for new versions of Excel since version 1.5 and is the author of several books including This isn’t Excel, it’s Magic! (available on the IIL Bookstore), Excel Outside the Box, and More Excel Outside the Box.

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