Cell dimensions and print scaling

Alex McLaren

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Joined
Aug 24, 2017
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1
Hi! I'm having a hard time with the way Excel scales worksheets for printing. I'm trying to create a narrative report which has 16 pages, to be printed first to a PDF using a virtual printer, and then on A4 paper using a plastic-and-circuit-boards printer. (Yes, it has to be created in Excel, although it's probably not the best tool for the job - don't ask...). I've used Excel for stuff like this before, but I've never quite been able to get the dimensions of the page perfect for printing without distortions from scaling.

I figured that a reasonable way to find out what Excel thinks a sheet of A4 looks like would be to set all column widths and row heights to 1, select a huge print area, and see how Excel broke it up into pages. The result was 70 column-width-units wide by more than 900 row-height-units tall, and on the screen, at least, it was about three times longer than A4 is, so I figure that's a bust.

I've investigated methods of defining row height and column width in centimetres. The dimensions of A4 are 21 x 29.7 cm. Setting the columns to 1 cm and the rows to 1.1 cm, then, you'd expect would give an A4 print area of 27 rows by 21 columns. Instead, it's 27 rows by 17 columns - 17 x 29.7 cm. Printed without margins on a sheet of A4, you'd expect this to result in a distorted print-out - it would have to be made 4 cm wider to fit the page exactly (I've set custom page margins to 0 on all sides).

I've tried similar methods using pixels etc. to similar effect. I'm guessing the issue is something to do with the fact that there are several resolutions at play - screen resolution, virtual printing resolution and actual printing resolution are presumably all factors in how Excel's cell dimension units translate into physical centimetres.

Does anyone know of a way to define a print area which corresponds exactly to 16 pages of A4 (or to an identical resolution to 16 pages of A4), broken up appropriately? It doesn't really matter how many rows and columns it has beyond more than a hundred being cumbersome and less than 20 being limiting in terms of formatting.

Thanks!
 

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