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I'm looking for an easy way to produce nicely formatted PDF documents using a subset of data available in a spreadsheet. Ideally, I would be able to produce one or more PDF documents for each row int e spreadsheet. Each row contains scientific data about a sample. There are numbers, text and images in the Spreadsheet that need to be reformatted in a nice way in a PDF.

Ideally, the solution would be a piece of software that a non-technical but highly intelligent scientist could operate.

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VBA Macros are your friend here. As far as I know, no software solution exists because each person has their own way of customizing. The logic should go like this:

  1. For # of rows, for each row
  2. Copy cells blah blah to new worksheet and respective cells to suit your formatting
  3. Use VBA to reformat new worksheet to desired specs
  4. Use VBA to save as PDF with filename incorporating row number processed
  5. Close the new worksheet that is now already saved
  6. Reiterate for next row, till last row is processed.

Since you are highly intelligent, i'm sure a bit of Google searching or even macro recording should point you in the right direction.

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To elaborate a little on answer above, the quick route is to record a macro of you manually doing steps 1-5, and then customize it by adding a loop around it. Or better turn the recorded bit into a function and parameterize things such as cell selection and file names. – horatio Jan 4 '11 at 18:21
I'm not the scientist in question so my intelligence is still in question ;). I am familiar with VBA and was hoping there was a reporting suite of some sort that solves this problem. We have been using VBA for this in the past and we want a more flexible solution that doesn't rely on someone to code. Thanks for the analysis though. It's close to what we do currently. – Todd Jan 4 '11 at 18:56
If all you wanted was numbers out of the spreadsheet you could just save the data in a text-based format like csv and easily parse that information with tools in Python which also has modules for creating PDF files. For the images, you might be able to use PIL, the Python Imaging Library, but I'm not sure how to get them out of the spreadsheet. – martineau Jan 4 '11 at 21:18

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