Microsoft Excel

4 minute read

Excel Challenge 42: Prepare an Excel Worksheet for Printing

Deb Ashby

Deb Ashby

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Excel challenge #42 is an everyday challenge for millions of people.

Have you ever had trouble printing a large Excel spreadsheet? I bet your columns were falling off the page, numbers weren't looking the way you expected, or the data was just difficult to read. Here, we'll present you with not just problems but solutions!

Everything you need to participate in the challenge can be found below. To take part:

  • First, watch the challenge video and read the instructions below the video.
  • Review the previously published article on which the challenge is based.
  • Download the Excel worksheet you will use to complete the challenge tasks.
  • Put yourself to the test!

Take the challenge!

Get started right away by downloading the worksheet.

Want to chat about your approach and process with other Excel-heads? Join our Slack channel to share your insights and questions with like-minded learners.

The challenge 🤺

We have a large worksheet containing 5000 rows of sales data. Our manager would like this printed, but there is too much data to print clearly. Many columns have been cut off and placed on a separate worksheet, and the formatting is a mess. 

We need to reformat and change the layout so that the worksheet is easy to read. 

The instructions for this exercise are on the ‘Instructions’ worksheet in the workbook. 

Excel spreadsheet raw data

✅ Task 1: Find and replace

Find and Replace the following in column A:

  • Replace ‘Central America and the Caribbean’ with ‘CCAC’.
  • Replace ‘Middle East and North Africa’ with MENA. 

✅ Task 2: Autofit all columns  

Autofit all column widths so everything fits neatly inside each column. 

✅ Task 3: Apply number formatting

Apply number formatting as follows:

  • Apply comma formatting to column I. No decimal places. 
  • Apply Accounting formatting to columns J – N. No decimal places. 

✅ Task 4: Apply formatting

  • Format the header row with a background fill color of your choice. 
  • Apply all borders to the entire dataset.

formatted Excel data set

✅ Task 5: Adjust the page and repeat the header row 

Adjust the page so that all columns fit. Ensure the header row is repeated and prints across all pages. 


  • We are not trying to fit all the data on one page. The data can span multiple pages, but we must have all columns (A-N) showing on each page. 
  • Do not delete any columns or adjust the text size. 
  • Consider the page orientation. 

✅ Task 6: Add a header and footer

Add a header to the page.

The header should contain the name of the worksheet in the center of the page. 

Add a footer to the page. 

The footer should contain the page number and number of pages, e.g. Page 1 of 20. 

✅ Task 7: Review the printout

Check the printout is clear and easy to read in Print Preview. 

✅ Task 8: Add the answer

Add the answer to the question on the ‘Instructions’ worksheet to cell C18. 

Take the challenge!

Get started right away by downloading the worksheet.

Clues 🕵️

Need some help getting started? Check out our 11 Best Excel Tips for Beginners, where you can learn how to tackle these tasks like a boss! 💪

Bonus challenge 🤩

If you’re already proficient with Excel, this should be quite easy. For you advanced Excel users out there, is there anything else you would recommend adding to jazz up this worksheet? We'd love to know! Share your insights in our Slack channel.

How quickly can you complete this challenge? Ten minutes? Five? Less?

Have fun!

The solution💡

Check out our Microsoft MVP Deb Ashby's solution below. 

If you have a different solution or any questions about the above technique, our friendly community is ready to help.

We hope you enjoyed taking part in this challenge! Stay tuned to the GoSkills Excel Resource hub for more Excel challenges, and check out our range of expert-led Excel courses for all skill levels to further sharpen your skills. 

If you enjoyed this challenge, try the Basic and Advanced Excel course to help you manage data and learn other practical real-world Excel skills.

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Join the Excel conversation on Slack

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Deb Ashby

Deb Ashby

Deborah is a freelance Microsoft instructor and content creator. In her spare time, she likes to swim, practice yoga, travel, and refine her photography skills.