TMO Quick Tip - Printing a Single Page in Apple's Numbers Spreadsheet

A frequent task for a spreadsheet, like Apple's Numbers in iWork, is to create a small table that fits on one page. Unfortunately, Apple's Numbers, by default, can take a simple block of data and expand it to a fragmented, colossal ten page mess. This tip shows how to easily print that small, one page spreadsheet on one sheet of paper.

Below is a sample spreadsheet like the one described above. It's a mythical list of school kids in acting class kept by a teacher, not likely to get much larger. The goal is to print it on one sheet of paper. (Note: For clarity, this screen shot doesn't show the default, empty columns further to the right.)

Numbers Sample

Just a small spreadsheet page to print

Even for this small list, the default number of columns and the default scaling of the spreadsheet for the page size and orientation creates a fragmentation mess: some of the columns get scattered to other pages. The first time you click on Print, you may see a 10 page extravaganza, not what you want. Worse, numbers has no Page Layout item in the File Menu. What to do?

Numbers gasp

Print Dialog ... Gasp! Ten pages!?

Step 1. In the Numbers File menu, select Show Print View.

Numbers File menu

Numbers File Menu


Step 2. On the right side of the Numbers Toolbar, click on the Inspector icon.

Numbers Toolbar

Numbers Toolbar, Top Right

Step 3. In the Inspector, select the Page Layout tab at the top, second from left. Select the desired orientation, say, landscape mode. Note the Content Scale slider just above. This slider dictates how the spreadsheet will fit on to the page type you're using -- for most Americans, "US Letter." Play with the slider until the dynamically resized spreadsheet appears on the virtual page at the size you want. (This is all the stuff you were looking for in the Page Layout menu.)

Close the Inspector.

Numbers Inspector

Inspector Does Page Layout

Notice the duplicate slider at the bottom of the Numbers window. It does the same job. (The percent size popup to the left merely dictates the apparent size on the screen, not how it will print.)

Numbers Content Scaler

Numbers Content Scale Slider Also Appears at Bottom

Step 4. When you print the page, you'll also see a preview of the sized image of your spreadsheet, ready for a single page, in the Print dialog box. If the cell data is too small for your liking, go back and delete the empty rows and columns. That will increase the size of the numbers and as well as stop the "bleed" into extra pages.

Numbers Print Dialog

Print Dialog Previews and Confirms: One Page!

When you're done, go back to the File menu and select Hide Print View. With Income Tax season upon us, this technique could help with a quick accounting of deductions, charitable contributions, business expenses and so on.