(First posted November 2005)
Calc spreadsheet printing can be tricky. Which is too bad, because there are some fairly powerful features. Here are some questions people used to ask me a lot at when I worked at Sun. Between horrified peeks at my under-water stock options, this is what I told them.
My spreadsheet won't print the way I want. What should I do?
There is a powerful and quite easily accessible tab that lets you do a bunch of stuff with printing. Choose Format > Page and click the Sheet tab. There, you will find many useful settings such as what direction to print in (all the way down then start again, or all the way across then start again), and which items to print (grid, formulas and much more). Possibly the most useful, however, are the scaling options at the bottom which let you make the whole thing fit onto a specified number of pages or let you scale the whole thing up or down a bit.
The Page tab of that window can be useful too with more everyday settings—margins, page size, and centering the cells left-right and top-bottom within the page. Use the Table Alignment option for that last feature.
I really don't want to show McNealy the figures in column G. How do I hide that?
It's not tricky—not this approach to hiding, at any right. Select the whole column by clicking on the letter, then right-click and choose Hide. To show again, select the two columns on both sides, right-click, and choose Show.
No, I mean I want to show them in the spreadsheet while I'm working with them, I just don't want that column to print.
Oh, why didn't you say so? This is simple too. Select whatever cells shouldn't print, and choose Format > Cells. Select the Cell Protection tab. Mark the Hide When Printing option and click OK. (Remember to turn it back on again when you want them to be printed.) However, note that this won't make the cell spaces themselves go away. So hide the heading that goes with the data, and be prepared to answer questions about why that space is empty.
How do I print just specific rows or columns of my spreadsheet?
It's quick and easy, just not obvious.
- Select the rows or columns that you want printed. It has to be rows or columns, the shape must be rectangular.
- Then choose Format > Print Ranges > Define.
- Choose File > Page Preview to be sure you got what you want, if you want to check first.
- Then just print; only items defined in print range will be printed.
If you made a mistake defining the range, repeat the step with the right range and the new range will replace the old range. Or just select the old range and choose Format > Print Ranges > Remove and start over.
If you need multiple print ranges, it might be best to consider using one of the hiding features.
I need the headings across the top, Budget and Forecast and all that, to print on every page. How do I do that?
In the previous task, the window had fields where you could pick rows to repeat. You just use those fields.
- Choose Format > Print Ranges > Edit.
- Click in the Rows to Repeat (or Columns to Repeat field for columns).
- Just use your mouse to select the rows to repeat.
- Repeat with the other field if you want both columns and rows to repeat.
- Click OK.
Here's a picture of the key point. Click to get a bigger graphic.
Choose File > Page Preview to check if you want to verify before printing.