Excel Basics:
Setup Margins

Title: Jan's Illustrated Computer Literacy 101
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The margins are the blank space between the edge of the paper and the printed data. You have top, bottom, left, and right margins. The lessons use the default margins in most cases. The instructions will, of course, tell you to change the margins if it is necessary. 

Margins shown in green
Top, bottom, left and right margins surround the body 
of the printed spreadsheet

If you don't use "letter" size paper, you may need to use different margins to have your documents look similar to the illustrations.

Some printers cannot print as close to the edge of the paper as others. You may have to make adjusts to your documents if your printer needs extra wide margins.


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Before you start...

Project 1: Excel IntroTo subtopics

Project 2: Excel Basics  
   
Getting Started Arrow to subtopics
      Icon - FootprintRegional Settings
      Icon - FootprintAppearance
      Icon - FootprintPage
      Icon - FootprintMargins
      Icon - FootprintHeader/Footer
      Icon - FootprintSheet
      Icon - FootprintOptions
      Icon - FootprintEnter/Edit/Clear Popup Table
    ArrangeTo subtopics
    AutoFillTo subtopics
    FinishTo subtopics
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    ExercisesTo subtopics

Project 3: Format & ArrangeTo subtopics

Project 4: Groups & FormulasTo subtopics

Project 5: DesignTo subtopics


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Step-by-Step: Setup Margins

 Icon Step-by-Step

What you will learn:

what the margins are
to set the sizes for margins in dialog
to resize margins by dragging
how the margins relate to the header and footer


Start with: Budget.xls (budget.xls from the resource files)

Margins: Dialog

  1. If necessary, open budget.xls and then open the Page Setup dialog . [File | Page Setup...]
     
  2. Click on the Margins tab. Margin settings are in inches if Regional Settings/Options = English (United States). [See the earlier page] The Page Setup dialog does not tell you what the unit of measure is! It just gives the numbers. There is no place inside Excel to change the measurement system being used.Sad Smiley face
     
  3. If necessary, change the margins to match the illustration:
    Top = 1, Bottom = 1, Left = .75, Right = .75, Header = .5, Footer = .5
    Center on page boxes not checked.

    Dialog: Page Setup, Margins tab

    If your computer uses the metric system, the default sizes are in centimeters, like:

    Dialog: Page Setup - Margins in cm

  4. Close the Page Setup Dialog.

Margins: Mouse

  1. Open the Print Preview with the toolbar button Button: Print Preview.  
     
  2. Click on Text button for Margins the Margins button in the toolbar. This button toggles on and off a set of dotted lines that mark the margins and the header and footer.
     
  3. With the margin lines showing, move the mouse pointer over one of the dotted lines until it turns into Vertical resize pointer shape the vertical resize shape.
     
  4. Carefully hold down the left mouse button. On the Status bar there is a message about the line you are on and the margin it represents. 
     
  5. Drag the mouse to change the margin sizes. Have some fun! 

    Top Margin  = 1.00 inch       Header Margin  = 0.50 inch

    Bottom margin  = 1.00 inche Footer margin  = 0.50 inches
    The default sizes for margins (in inches)

    Warning Margins Error: If you set the Header larger than the Top, or the Footer larger than the Bottom,  or if your text size is too big to fit in the space, your header or footer may print on top of your data cells. In the illustration below, the header is my name, formatted to a large font size. Excel will not hide the misbehaving header or footer like Word does. Your header and footer will print, come what may! The Office Assistant may offer a tip about this problem, but it won't insist on your fixing it. If the top row or two of your spreadsheet happens to be blank, you won't notice the effect.

    overlapping text
    Problem: The Top margin should be bigger than the Header! 

    Tip The default left and right margin for the header and footer is always .75 " no matter what margins you choose for the rest of the page. Another strange "feature". 
     

  6. Close Print Preview.

Center on Page

To make small spreadsheets and ranges print more attractively, you can center the print area horizontally or vertically or both.

  1. Open the Page Setup dialog again to the Margins tab.
     
  2. Checkboxes in Page Setup dialog for centeringClick on the checkboxes to center Horizontally and Vertically

    Thumbnail of sample document centeredThe preview document on the Margins tab moves to show the change. You won't notice this centering unless the range that is printed is smaller than the width or height of the page.

    TipThe preview in the dialog is not a thumbnail of your actual document. 
     

  3. Click on the Print Preview button to see the Budget sheet.  Can you see a difference? 

Preview of Budget - centered


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Last updated: 02 May 2012