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: Creating Long Page Footers.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated August 24, 2019)
Carolyn wonders if it is possible to create a footer that is more than 255 characters and goes from left to right across the entire page, similar to what can be done in Word.
The short answer is that there is no way to do this. In practice, getting the footer to go all the way across the page is not that difficult; what is difficult is getting it to contain more than 255 characters. This limit seems hard-coded into Excel. There are a few things you can try to work around the limitation, however.
First, you could simply "fake" a footer by putting what you want into cells that you then copy to the bottom of each page. This isn't terribly user-friendly, as moving and inserting rows can play havoc with where those "footer cells" are actually printed.
Another idea is to create your footer content using any cells in your worksheet, copy the cells to the Clipboard, and then paste them into your favorite image editing program as a picture. There you can size the picture to your liking and make any other changes necessary. Make sure you save the picture as a JPG file. Back in Excel you can create your custom footer by inserting that saved picture into any part of the footer.
Finally, you can use the old "two pass" technique with your printer. Create your footer in Word, as desired. Print a bunch of pages that consist of only the footer, place those pages back into your printer's paper tray, and then print your Excel worksheet. All you need to do is make sure that the bottom margin is set properly in Excel so that there is enough space left for the footer you printed from Word.
ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (6688) 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: Creating Long Page Footers.
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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.