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 Single Column in Multiple Columns.

Printing a Single Column in Multiple Columns

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 18, 2014)

7

Sometimes the data you collect in a worksheet fits very nicely into a single column. For instance, you may have a list of names, and they all are contained in column A of your worksheet. When you choose to print the worksheet, it can consume quite a few pages, all of them nearly blank as the left side of each page contains a name, and the right side contains white space.

In this type of instance, it would be nice to print the single column as if it were multiple columns. That way you could use more of each printed page and fewer overall pages for your print job. Unfortunately Excel contains no intrinsic command or print setting that allows you to automatically reformat your data so it prints better. There are workarounds, however.

One workaround that is often overlooked is just copying the single-column list to a blank Word document. If you paste it there as plain text, you can format each page for multiple columns and actually print the information.

If you would rather not involve Word, you can cut and paste information from the first column into other columns to give the desired number of printing columns. This, of course, should be done in a new worksheet or workbook, so that the original data remains undisturbed. As an example, if you have 200 names in your original list, you can cut 40 names at a time from the list and paste them into columns A through E of a new worksheet. Printing this worksheet requires less pages than printing the original single-column worksheet.

Of course, if you have to do this cut-and-paste often, the chore can quickly become tiresome. In this instance, you can use a macro that does the exact same thing: It slices and dices the original list and pastes it into a number of columns on a new workbook.

Sub SingleToMultiColumn()
    Dim rng As Range
    Dim iCols As Integer
    Dim lRows As Long
    Dim iCol As Integer
    Dim lRow As Long
    Dim lRowSource As Long
    Dim x As Long
    Dim wks As Worksheet

    Set rng = Application.InputBox _
      (prompt:="Select the range to convert", _
      Type:=8)
    iCols = InputBox("How many columns do you want?")
    lRowSource = rng.Rows.Count
    lRows = lRowSource / iCols
    If lRows * iCols <> lRowSource Then lRows = lRows + 1

    Set wks = Worksheets.Add
    lRow = 1
    x = 1
    For iCol = 1 To iCols
        Do While x <= lRows And lRow <= lRowSource
            Cells(x, iCol) = rng.Cells(lRow, 1)
            x = x + 1
            lRow = lRow + 1
        Loop
        x = 1
    Next
End Sub

When you run this macro, you are asked to select the range you want to convert, and then you are asked to specify the number of columns you want it to be reformatted as. It creates a new worksheet in the current workbook and copies information from the original into as many columns as you specified.

For additional resources to solve this problem, refer to the following Web sites:

http://www.ozgrid.com/VBA/MiscVBA.htm#Print
http://www.mvps.org/dmcritchie/excel/snakecol.htm

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2219) 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 Single Column in Multiple Columns.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Maintaining Proper Hyperlinks in Word 2000 and Later

Keeping hyperlinks properly working in a group of documents can be a challenge. Here's a way that you can make sure that Word ...

Discover More

Columns in a Text Box

Want to divide a text box into columns? Word doesn't allow you to do this, but there are ways to work around the limitation.

Discover More

Adding Paragraph Numbering

You may search high and low for a way to add automatic numbers to paragraphs in a document. You won't find the capability, ...

Discover More

Excel Smarts for Beginners! Featuring the friendly and trusted For Dummies style, this popular guide shows beginners how to get up and running with Excel while also helping more experienced users get comfortable with the newest features. Check out Excel 2013 For Dummies today!

More ExcelTips (menu)

Locking the Print Area

Excel allows you to specify an area of your worksheet that should be printed. Here's how to "lock" that area so it cannot be ...

Discover More

Multiple Print Areas on a Single Printed Page

Want to print small, non-contiguous areas of your worksheet all on a single page? You might think that defining a ...

Discover More

Setting the Print Area

Many people, when they print a worksheet, print the entire thing. You don't have to, however. You can specify that Excel ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 8Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is eight more than 8?

2017-06-07 11:47:51

Dianne

This works great if you have one column of data - how would you change the macro to wrap two columns of data?


2017-02-26 16:19:01

Jason

The trick using Word is fantastic.

Here's a quick GIF showing how its done: http://excelexplained.net/Tricks/how-to-snake-a-column-using-word.html


2016-07-29 02:58:59

John Renwick

Such a simple thing: just want to print a long simple list side by side on an excel spreadsheet without adding to forest destruction but have to use a zillion tons of VBA code to do it. Fucking ridiculous!


2016-02-20 12:40:07

Rob Page

Can this be modified so that instead of writing the cells down the first column, then moving on to the next column, it writes them starting at row 1 across numofcolumns, then moves on to write on the next row? That's the order that I need to data to appear in.

Thanks!


2015-02-10 12:46:36

Michelle

Great idea to use Word!

I pasted the Excel column into Word. Instead of converting it to text, I formatted the Word page to have two columns, which is what fit my data. It worked very well!


2014-06-17 16:48:48

Bonnie

I loved the idea of converting to plain text in word - why didn't I think of that?
Great time saver for my purposes!


2014-03-04 12:26:39

Daniel

Hi Allen.

This code is doing exactly what I want it to do short of one thing, I want to be able to select a cell where I want the output to start.

I removed the "Set wks = Worksheets.Add" making the code paste the output always starting in A1. How can I change this to paste in any cell I prefer?

Best regards


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the menu interface (Excel 97, Excel 2000, Excel 2002, or Excel 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.