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Printing a Chart Across Multiple Pages

Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Excel 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Excel, click here: Printing a Chart Across Multiple Pages.

If you are using Excel to chart very large amounts of data, the charts you create can end up being very large, as well. This leads to a problem when printing the chart: Do you print it so it fits on one piece of paper, thereby losing detail, or do you try to maintain the detail and print the chart on multiple pieces of paper?

Unfortunately, the answer to what could otherwise be a simple question is complicated by the fact that Excel doesn't easily allow you to print a single chart across multiple pieces of papers. Instead you are left work around the problem. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do.

First of all, you could simply break the data range you are charting into smaller "chunks" of data that would be printed on different charts. Thus, the amount of detail on each chart would depend on the amount of data you are assigning to that chart. For instance, if the data range you want to actually chart is in A1:B2000, you might create 20 charts, with each chart made up of the data from 100 rows.

Another potential solution involves how you create the chart itself. Instead of creating the chart as a chart sheet, create it as an object on a worksheet. This results in a chart that floats over the top of the worksheet. You can then size the chart to be as wide as you want, thereby revealing as much data as you want. When you print the worksheet, Excel splits the chart across multiple pages, as desired.

There are two things to remember in this approach: First, you must make sure that you select a workbook cell when printing. If you select the chart before printing, Excel will print just the chart and shrink it to fit on a single page. Second, Excel will also try to print your large data range in the printout. To overcome this, you can play with the settings in the Print dialog box to get just the pages printed that you need.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2543) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Excel (Excel 2007 and later) here: Printing a Chart Across Multiple Pages.

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