A Colorful Preview


Q: I developed a presentation consisting of numerous Excel charts and data tables on my desktop computer, and I plan to use Print Preview to deliver the presentation. In practice, on my desktop computer this approach works well; but when I transfer the presentation to my laptop, the presentation previews in black and white, not color. I can’t find a setting anywhere to make my laptop preview in color. Can you help?


A: I applaud your ingenuity; simply using Print Preview can sometimes be a quick and easy method for organizing and displaying selected portions of your Excel file to an audience, primarily because this approach eliminates the time-consuming task of copying and pasting data into PowerPoint. Additionally, PowerPoint does not handle larger reports spanning hundreds of rows or columns—so in some cases, using Excel is the only practical choice. As an alternative, you could deliver your presentation directly from the Excel worksheets, but using Print Preview makes it easy to organize selected portions of the workbook for presentation purposes, and eliminates the need to clumsily browse to the desired tables, charts and reports. Those who have never considered this application should give it a try.


Excel’s Print Preview uses the system’s default printer as a basis for rendering the preview. If you change your computer’s default printer to a color printer, the previewed print job will display in color.


To change your default printer setting, launch Control Panel from the Start button, and:

  • In Windows 7, under Hardware and Sound, select View Devices and Printers.
  • In Windows Vista, under Hardware and Sound, select Printer.
  • In Windows XP, select Printers and Faxes. Right-click on a color printer, and select Set as Default Printer from the pop-up menu as pictured below.


You can set up and use a color printer for Print Preview purposes, even if you do not have a color printer attached to your computer. To add a color printer:


1. Launch Control Panel and:

a. In Windows 7 and Vista, select Hardware and Sound, Add a printer.

b. In Windows XP, select Printers and Faxes, and under the Printer Tasks menu, select Add a printer.

2. In the Add Printer dialog box, select Add a local printer.


3. Choose any port from the Use an existing port dropdown menu and click Next.


4. Select any manufacturer and color printer model and click Next.


5. Provide an appropriate name in the Printer Name box and click Next.


6. If asked to share the printer, select No.


7. Click Finish.


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