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Excel

Page Layout View

A few posts back when I provided an overview of our work in the area of “better looking documentsâ€, I mentioned that two of our goals were to “Make it easy to see what your work will look like printed as you create it “ and “Make it easier to maintain your spreadsheet and update formattingâ€.  I also mentioned that we had added a new view to Excel – “A new view – Page Layout View – to supplement Normal and Page Break Previewâ€.  In today’s post, I wanted to cover Page Layout View.

Excel’s Normal  view is optimized, thankfully, for working with data – seeing as many cells as possible, etc.  Laying out and printing Excel spreadsheets, however, is still a challenge for a significant number of users, and even experienced users can find the process of getting spreadsheets ready to print to be time-consuming.  In Excel 97, we added Page Break Preview view, which allows  users to see and easily adjust page breaks in their work.  This went some way to solving layout challenges, but did not entirely address the issue.  In Excel 2007, we have added Page Break Preview, which will make it easier for users to see their work within the context of a printed page, thereby simplifying the process of getting work ready to be printed.  In addition, we have made common layout and page-setup tasks like adjusting margins, changing page orientation, and filtering data simple ribbon-based actions, which means that Page Layout view will render these sorts of changes WYSIWYG so the user can see the effect of their actions immediately.  Let’s take a look.

First, how does one get into Page Layout view in the first place?  Two ways.  Much like Word, Excel now has view switchers on the status bar.  The first button is Normal view, the second Page Layout, and the third Page Break Preview.

Or, the user can switch between views using the appropriate controls on the View tab.  Here is what the View tab looks like in current builds.


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When the user switches into Page Layout view, they see what their work will look like on a piece of paper.  For example, here is a blank workbook switched into Page Layout view.


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There are a couple of things I should point out.  First, the view is a fully editable view, so all Excel functionality is available … this isn’t just a fancy print preview, for example.  Second, the rulers allow users to adjust page margins, just like Word.  Users can turn the rulers (and the row and column labels) on and off via the ribbon.  Third, the pages that will not print are coloured light grey – in the example above, you can see that only the first page would print, and the page beside it has a watermark saying “Click Here To Add Dataâ€.  Third, Page Layout View shows the user the results of common layout and page setup tasks real time.  So, for example, if I changed the orientation from portrait to landscape …

The result is immediately visible in the document I am working with.


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Page Layout view in combination with zoom also opens up the ability to see how all of your work fits across pages.  Here is a shot of Page Layout view set at 40% zoom.


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One other item I would like to point out that we have borrowed from the Word team – if you would like to see more data, you can click between the pages, and Excel will collapse the whitespace between the pages.  For example, if you are looking at this workbook …


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… and you click in-between the pages (the cursor changes to give you a hint that something is up), you see the following.


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The idea being that you still see the pages clearly, but you also see as much of your work as possible.

One final thing I want to cover in this post – the Page Layout tab.  The Page Layout tab surfaces the common page set up tasks in a “results-oriented†way, which simply means you tell Excel what you want to see instead of fiddling with dialogs (for example, I want “Wide Marginsâ€).  The tasks surfaced on this ribbon include adjusting page size, setting page scaling, inserting page breaks, and setting margins, just to name a few.  In combination with Page Layout view, we hope that the Page Layout tab makes setting up documents for printing much easier and faster.


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