Printing a Chart

Excel allows you to quickly convert your worksheet data into snazzy charts. (You know-a picture is worth a thousand worksheet cells.) Once your chart looks just the way you want it to, you may be wondering exactly how to get the best results when printing it. In many ways, printing a chart is the same as printing a worksheet, but with a few subtle differences.

If you are not printing to a color printer, the first thing you will want to do is make sure you use the Print Preview feature to see what your chart will appear like in black and white. If there is not enough contrast between different parts of your chart, you will want to make changes to either the colors or patterns used within the chart so there is a better contrast and your printed chart will look better.

When you are ready to print your chart, the easiest method is to simply press Ctrl+P. Excel displays the Print dialog box (Excel 2007) or the print settings (later versions), with which you are probably already familiar. The information at the top of the dialog box or settings indicates where your chart will be printed. If this is not the printer you want to use, choose a different printer using the drop-down list. (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1. The Print dialog box.

The actual information and options available in the Print dialog box can vary depending on the type of printer you are using. Different printers have different capabilities, and Windows takes advantage of these capabilities as much as possible. In general, however, you can use this dialog box or settings page to select the number of copies you want to print, along with which pages you want to print.

One of the other things you can specify is what you want sent to the printer. This is done by making a selection in the Print What box (Excel 2007) or the first drop-down list under the Settings heading (later versions of Excel). By default, this setting is Active Sheet(s) or Print Active Sheets, typically meaning that only the current worksheet will be printed (the one containing your chart). By changing this field, you can also specify that only a selection be printed or that your entire workbook is printed. (You should note that the Selection or Print Selection options are only available if you are printing a worksheet containing an embedded chart and that chart is selected; it is not available when printing a chart sheet.)

When you are satisfied with what you want to print, click on the OK button (Excel 2007) or Print button (later versions of Excel). Excel sends your information to the printer, as you directed.