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Office challenge: Why is there always an extra blank page at the end of this document?

Learn the solution to last week's Excel challenge and test your skills in this week's Word challenge.

A user came to me with a problem that's more common than you might think. Every time he prints a certain document, Word prints a blank page at the end. It just so happens that his document has a table at the very end—a table that goes to the very bottom of the last page. What's the problem and is there any way to inhibit that last blank page?

Last week we asked…

How can you view formulas and results for a range at the same time? I would open two windows for the same sheet using New Window from the Window menu. In Excel 2007 and 2010, click the View tab and then click New Window in the Window group. Then, choose Arrange—select the most comfortable arrangement. Once you can view both windows, press [Ctrl]+` to display formulas in one of the windows. (The ` character is to the left of the 1 character.) Sandra.scrivens was the first to respond with the solution I had in mind.

Basil.cinnamon suggested copying the formulas as text to nearby empty cells. This works too, if you have empty cells nearby. I use this method occasionally in figures.

Thanks everyone for another fun Office challenge!

About

Susan Sales Harkins is an IT consultant, specializing in desktop solutions. Previously, she was editor in chief for The Cobb Group, the world's largest publisher of technical journals.

14 comments
mw00110011
mw00110011

I almost always have Show/Hide ON. Then, setting that final, unnecessary paragraph to 1pt is a good general solution since getting rid of it is not always easy (in WinWord 2003 anyway). You can also try selecting the last paragraph and setting its font format to hidden. Even if it displays as a final page, in print preview it doesn't generate a new page. I tried to print just page 2 where the last paragraph field was set to hidden (but it did create that second page) and got no page out. (There is a setting to actually PRINT hidden content - this would bust this technique) Printing in general is falling out of favor - uncontrolled paper consumption is another good reason to stay digital as much as possible.

justkeith
justkeith

Just use the "Shrink one page" option

Proudman
Proudman

You have to start by turning on Show hidden format symbols. I never assume that there isn't a hidden section break or page break. Check section properties to make sure that there isn't something there that you were not expecting. I also agree that you have to check the paragraph that always follows a table and decrease the font and paragraph spacing if all else is OK.

RU7
RU7

Tables always have at least one paragraph mark following them. Reducing that line's font size to 1 pt will work unless you don't even have 1 pt of space. I always look at the print preview and, if there are blank pages at the end I select a Print range of "Pages" with "1-x" where x is the total number of pages minus the number of blank pages at the end.

mail
mail

If there is a paragraph mark on a "blank" page it will print that page. If you click on the show/hide button it will reveal whether or not there is a paragraph mark on a page. It has always been a mystery to me why Microsoft and other vendors have failed to provide a user setting allowing one to elect not to print pages unless they contain text. I have on occasion printed a large number of copies of a multipage document only to discover that I end up with a blank last page for each copy printed. Very annoying!

stapleb
stapleb

I hadn't thought of changing the font size to 1, which sounds like a good idea. I would also look at line spacing and spacing before and after paragraph. If you are using 2007 or 2010 the line spacing is 1.15 and space after a paragraph is 10 points. I would change the line spacing to 1, and zero spacing before and after paragraph. If all else fails, insert a continuous section break above the table and change the bottom margin of that page. I had another thought on this (didn't think of it yesterday), change the line spacing to less than 1, for example, .5 and this will cut it down even more.

mwb78
mwb78

My first reaction to your question was to rant against all the folks out there that don't clean up the end of their document. When I look at Word documents I receive, I often find scores of random non-printing characters collected at the end. If left unnoticed, you'll be printing blank pages. I always look at the number of pages in the status bar and compare it to the actual text. That said, you further refined the situation by pointing out that it is a table that goes to the end of the page. jbenton has already pointed out the only solution I've come up with. It's mind-boggling to me that I have to force artificial formatting into my document to ensure no blank pages. Maybe someone has a more elegant solution. ??? Yesterday, I added another layer to this situation. I had a table that I wished to appear in two columns in my document. (It is a one-column table that begins in the left-hand column of the document then continues to right-hand column of the document. I am using the table with borders to give structure to my text.) With the combination of Column Breaks and tables, Word creates extra spacing above the table in the right-hand column. I spent several minutes to figure out just the right combination. In the end, I had to break my table apart into multiple tables in order to control the extra line returns when I added Column Breaks. Note: Yes, I see the "d" in document changed to a "

jbenton
jbenton

there's always an extra return after the end of the table (view formatting marks with shift-8), select this and change the font size to 1pt

Ron_007
Ron_007

Just be glad that you aren't working in WordPerfect. WP does formatting via "codes" embedded inline with the text,like HTML and unlike Word which hides all of those messy formatting details from the "idiot" user. It is especially bad in WP docs created by inexperienced users. You would find dozens, even hundreds, of "orphan" formatting codes. My favorite was the TAB formatting code. It set margins and specific tab locations. If you "stuttered" when you hit the command key to insert new tab more than once you would have LOTS of unused codes.

lmassey
lmassey

I just wanted to say I TOTALLY agree with your pet peeve and have the same one big time! I deal with this constantly. It's not just stuff at the end of the document, either -- it's frequently all manner of unnecessary spaces, tabs, paragraph marks, etc., all through the document. This makes my job very time-consuming when I'm cleaning up text in preparation for putting it on our web site. ARGH!

robinjanekluz
robinjanekluz

I agree with this being a pet peeve! When you have your formatting marks turned on you can see how people add spaces and tabs at the end of sentences and paragraphs for no reason. What I do to keep that blank page from printing is this: Word automatically puts a hard paragraph below a table. Very often, formatting that last paragraph as 1pt in the current font will keep the text from pushing onto the next page. You might also have to adjust table cell top/bottom margins or line spacing to less than 1sp if you're trying to squeeze the text onto one page, but that 1pt trick works for me most of the time.

TrajMag
TrajMag

Go to "Table" and "show Gridlines." Generally I find the table has flowed over with blank rows onto the next page. Simple resize the table or eliminate unused rows. Extra page is gone. Check in the status bare at the bottom if it is turned on.

govemp10
govemp10

I MUCH perfer WP for this very reason. You can turn reveal codes on, and see what is causing the strange behaviour. With WORD, much of the time you can only guess. More than once I have just had to start fresh with a new doc, because I could not get rid of the unwanted formating!

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

if the copy is important and overfills the page, try raising upper margin slightly and lower the bottom margin a bit, essentially STRETCHING the page to fit a tiny bit more and avoid the overflow.