If you’re using an Excel spreadsheet that contains a large amount of data or many columns, it can sometimes be difficult to adjust the layout to achieve a professional finish when printed. In Excel there are some handy tools in the form of the ‘Page Layout View’ that you can use to manipulate your data to look good on a page.

Page layout view is useful to enable you to get a good overall feel for the look of the page when it’s printed. You still have all of the functions of the standard view, but with the addition of a few extra tools such a rulers, header and footer fields and layout adjustment to enable you to achieve a perfect finish to your page. You can use the tools for things such as positioning objects precisely and making changes to the margins of the page directly on the worksheet.

While the Page Layout is good for formatting, it’s not always so helpful when working directly with your data, but it’s easy to switch between views with a click of a button and you can go back to the standard view at any point you want.

To view a page in Page Layout View, first you need to  click the worksheet that you want to change in this view and then on the ‘View‘ tab click ‘Page Layout View’ which is found under the ‘Views‘ group. You’ll then see your worksheet displayed as it will look on a page and from here you can format it the way that you want.




Over the next few articles, we’ll look into using the functions of page layout view, and one of the most useful tools to start with are the rulers.

Rulers in Page Layout View

The precision afforded by having the ruler will allow you to identify exactly the width of cells or objects, which will help with formatting your worksheet as a document for print. You can even set the ruler to use whatever measurement unit you need and if you aren’t using the rulers or want to get rid of them, you can do so quite easily.

The rulers are usually displayed by default, however you can display or hide them simply. First you need to be in Page Layout View then on the View tab, in the Show/Hide group, clear the Ruler check box to hide the rulers, or select the check box to display the rulers.


To change the measuremnt units of your ruler, you do this in the settings of your workbook. Click the Microsoft Office Button , and then select Excel Options.In the Advanced category, under Display, select the units that you want to use in the Ruler units list.

Changing Page Orientation

Another useful tool here is the page orientation, enabling you to change the page from portrait to landscape or vice versa. If your data doen’t fit quite well enough in one view, as in the example below it may be that changing the orientation is all that you need to fit the data all onto one page neatly. To do this click on the Page Layout tab and then under Orientation select the relevant option.



These are just a couple of the simple tools you can use in page layout view. In the next article we’ll cover other’s such as showing and hiding gridlines, fine tuning your workseet for printing and setting page breaks in the next article.

Steph Middleton