How can I preview my Excel document before printing, when there is no printer installed?

Simply choosing "Microsoft XPS Writer" or "Fax" as a default printer doesn't do the trick, system balks with "Chosen printer is unavailable" (sorry, if I reproduced message incorrectly, this Office is in Russian).

Any help appreciated.

  • Is "Microsoft XPS Writer" set as the default printer? It works for me in Excel 2007. – Mehper C. Palavuzlar Mar 11 '11 at 12:46
  • Welcome to Super User! I'm voting your question to be closed as a "print preview" doesn't exist without a printer, thus what you ask is not what you want and would result in the same as you already see on your screen or as you obtain by saving it natively to any file format that doesn't change characteristics. Please clarify your question if you want it to remain open... – Tamara Wijsman Mar 11 '11 at 14:46
  • Forgot to mention: It's done natively by using View > Print Layout, check my answer. – Tamara Wijsman Mar 11 '11 at 14:55

Use a virtual PDF printer like PDFCreator. It should do the trick.

  • @TomWij: PDFCreator is not one of those you mentioned. It's a source forge project that has been used widely. – Mehper C. Palavuzlar Mar 11 '11 at 14:10
  • @TomWij: The aim here is to show Windows a printer to get "print preview" work. I don't suggest converting documents to PDF; I suggest bypassing the printer request of Windows by using a virtual one. – Mehper C. Palavuzlar Mar 11 '11 at 14:25
  • @Mepher: A fake printer to get a fake "print preview" which is the same as already seen on screen; there is no point in doing that, who would want to install something just to get the same result as he already has? :-/ – Tamara Wijsman Mar 11 '11 at 14:31
  • @TomWij: I don't agree with you when you say "print preview = converting to PDF". It's not a native way. It's file conversion; and the converted file has to be opened in a PDF reader. If that was feasible, there would not be "print preview" button on Excel, Word, etc. – Mehper C. Palavuzlar Mar 11 '11 at 14:37
  • @Mehper: My point is that there is no need to enable to preview prints, as both views are identical. Viewing in the "Print Layout" view and not in the "Print Preview" view is the native way and you can also save natively to PDFs (duh... conversion) without going through a bloated PostScript solution... – Tamara Wijsman Mar 11 '11 at 14:41

If you don't have a printer, you can already look at your print layout as anything you would do to get your document in another place would result in exactly the same view as your document loaded in View > Print Layout, either by natively displaying the view or by a bloated rendering/conversion.

enter image description here

Unrelated, if you need to print:
The proper way to properly convert to PDF natively is to save to a PDF, built-in behavior since 2010.

  • I think you are missing something. He wants to use the print preview, not to save as PDF. – Mehper C. Palavuzlar Mar 11 '11 at 13:32
  • @Mepher: Indifferent, if you don't have a printer, your output format is PDF/XPS, not WIP... – Tamara Wijsman Mar 11 '11 at 13:38
  • So, you suggest converting the document to another file type instead of trying to make "print preview" work. This would be a solution if we couldn't solve the "print preview" issue. – Mehper C. Palavuzlar Mar 11 '11 at 14:19
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    For example, in Excel, I'm creating lots of tables and it would be very hard to save as PDF each time I modify the document. Instead, I just click on the "print preview" button and within 1 second I see what the print would be like. – Mehper C. Palavuzlar Mar 11 '11 at 14:32
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    @TomWij: I've made my explanations and I don't want to discuss this issue with you anymore. We don't have to compromise. Let's leave the judgment to the OP and the community. – Mehper C. Palavuzlar Mar 11 '11 at 14:42

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