Unable to Adjust Margin in Excel

by Emily Ediger

Troubleshoot your margin errors by accessing the margin tools in your Microsoft Excel worksheet. Margins are the blank spaces between the edge of your text and the edge of your paper. Several factors affect margins, including print area, headers and footers and margin settings. Excel provides several tools for adjusting your margin spacing.

Page Layout

Microsoft Excel provides several popular margin settings that you can quickly access from a drop-down box of the Page Layout tab. The Margins drop-down box provides the most recently used custom setting along with Normal, Wide and Narrow settings. If your margins aren’t adjusting properly after selecting one of these options, click the “Custom Margins” button at the bottom of the Margin options. Set your custom margins and click the “Print Preview” button to review it for proper format.

Page Break View

Excel worksheets display in a continuous format, which allows you to easily add new columns and rows of information. In the Normal view, you can’t see where the page breaks occur. The placement of your page breaks may result in extra space between your data and the margin. Click the “View” button on the Ribbon at the top of the page and select the “Page Break View” button. Adjust the dark blue lines to change the placement of your page breaks.

Header and Footer

Excel provides headers and footers, which are specialized locations for text, calculations and numerical values. If your top and bottom margins are too wide, the headers and footers may be taking up too much space. Click the “View” tab of the Ribbon and select “Page Layout” to view any existing headers and footers. If the header or footer contains several rows of empty space, delete rows to reduce their space and decrease your margins.

Print Area

Just as the Page Break settings affect the spacing of your text in relation to the margin, the print area does as well. If the print area encompasses just a few rows or columns, your Print Preview will display a large amount of empty space. Highlight all of your columns and rows, click the “Page Layout” tab of the Ribbon and select the “Print Area” drop-down box. Click “Set Print Area” to reset the correct range of cells.

About the Author

Emily Ediger began writing professionally in 2007. Her work includes documenting technical procedures and editing event programs. Her expertise lies in technology, interactive learning and information retrieval. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Portland State University.

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