Excel spreadsheets – a couple of practical tips
Here is a simple way to test whether a spreadsheet has been prepared thoughtfully. Do a print preview of the entire workbook and see if it would all print out nicely on A4 paper in a size that anyone can read.
If this works then you can be pretty sure the spreadsheet has been prepared by someone who not only knows what they are doing but has recognised there may be other users of the spreadsheet.
If it doesn’t work well this does not automatically mean the spreadsheet is rubbish but it may not have been built very well, so be a little cautious at the very least.
A PDF can help
When you are building a spreadsheet there is a simple way to make sure the whole thing will print out nicely – save it as a PDF.
You can review the PDF to ensure everything looks fine and then you know that you have got the pagination working nicely.
Do not hide things
Do not hide rows, columns or sheets in a workbook. Obviously no one will see what is hidden but data or formulae in the hidden areas may have an impact on the outputs and the effect may not be what was intended.
So keep everything visible and if you do not want to print everything then simply amend the print areas on the pages you do want to print.
When using Excel, always assume someone else will want to use and rely on the spreadsheet. Build your workbook in a simple, transparent way that gets the right answers and is easy on the eye – both on screen and on paper.