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: Automatic Selection of Portrait or Landscape.

Automatic Selection of Portrait or Landscape

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 25, 2016)

Barbara has a worksheet that she needs to print out periodically. Sometimes she needs to only print three columns of data and other times she needs to print more. When she prints only three columns they fit very nicely on a page printed in portrait orientation. When she prints more columns then she needs to print in landscape orientation. Barbara wonders if there is a way she can set up Excel so that it automatically switches from portrait to landscape based upon the number of columns she wants to print.

Perhaps the easiest way to handle this type of printing is to add a little macro that runs just before printing. If the print area is set so that it contains 1, 2, or 3, columns, then the printout is done in portrait orientation. Any other number of columns and landscape orientation is used. Here is the macro; you should add it to the ThisWorkbook module:

Private Sub Workbook_BeforePrint(Cancel As Boolean)
    With ActiveSheet.PageSetup
        If Range(.PrintArea).Columns.Count > 3 Then
            .Orientation = xlLandscape
        Else
            .Orientation = xlPortrait
        End If
    End With
End Sub

Of course, it may be more beneficial (and flexible) if you simply use the Custom Views feature of Excel. You can specify a view that includes your three columns or any number of columns you want. You can even have the view include print settings, so the orientation of the page would be included in the view. Follow these steps to set up the views:

  1. Format and situate your worksheet as you want it to appear. Make sure, as well, that you set both the print area for your three columns and set the page layout to portrait orientation.
  2. Select Custom Views from the View menu. Excel displays the Custom Views dialog box.
  3. Click on the Add button. Excel displays the Add View dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Add View dialog box.

  5. In the Name field, supply the name you want associated with this view.
  6. In the View Includes section, select the options that reflect what you want saved with this view. Make sure you specify that you want to include print settings.
  7. When you are satisfied with your settings, click the OK button. The current view is saved by Excel.
  8. Repeat steps 1 through 6, but this time for your larger print area, making sure you set the page layout for landscape orientation.

Now, whenever you want to print different ways, you just call up the view you want and choose to print—everything else is already set for you.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (10364) 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: Automatic Selection of Portrait or Landscape.

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. ...

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