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Page Layouts: Confusion Reigns Supreme!

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While we are unabashed fans of Microsoft Excel here at Excel Everest, there are some things that can drive us up the wall.

And the leader on the Black Sheep List undoubtedly has to be that much-maligned, much-misunderstood feature: Page Layout. If you broke out into hives upon reading that dreaded name and are seriously contemplating diving under the desk until the storm blows over – hey, we know exactly how you feel!

This blog post is actually a dipping of the toes into the water, if you will; we just want to take a quick poll about how many of you think a deeper post about Page Layouts is warranted. If there are enough of you, and we see no reason why not, we’ll return with an in-depth tutorial.It is also is a bit of a rant – you’ve been warned!

First things first: Microsoft Excel does itself no favors by having a tab called “Page Layout”…

… and a button called “Page Layout” in the tab View

Now, that’s just bad design. Trust us when we say that using Page Layout is confusing – a tab and a button with the same name is just cruel!

Well, anyhow, when we say Page Layout, we mean the button in the tab “View” – unless specified otherwise.

There, now that we’re clear about that – here’s what Page Layout does:

It helps you visualize how a printout will look. In other words, if you were to hit the print button, what would the printer make of your current spreadsheet? Well, whatever you see on the screen after hitting the Lage Layout button, that’s what.

As you can see in the screenshot above, Excel allows you to configure your layout as per your requirements. You can adjust headers and footers, the lage layout itself, decide how much content you need per page and so on and so forth. Think of it as the advanced version of “Print Preview” – which in fact is what this is.

But in our honest opinion, Microsoft bungled up this bit. In fact, Microsoft itself has, in a way, admitted as much. They have  a blog up asking us users of Excel about how many of us use Page Layout, and in what way. Feel free to head on there and fill up the survey – it can only help.

As you can see, when I filled in the survey, the results indicated that most people did not use it at all, or used it very sparingly indeed. To my mind, this indicates that people simply don’t know about it!