Calc - Printing of Cells without Contents

From The Document Foundation Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

This page was marked as inactive and is retained for historical reference.
Either the page is no longer relevant or consensus on its purpose has become unclear. To revive discussion, seek broader input via a forum such as one of our mailing lists.

We should finish this until 2011-07-14 so that we can get fixes for 3.5

Specification Status
Main Authors Rainer Bielefeld
Last major Change 2011-07-11
Status (Help) Finished


This Specification defines how printing of a sheet with cells without real content, but background and / or border formatting information should work. Basic information from Help: "Pages - Suppress output of empty pages - Specifies that empty pages that have no cell contents or draw objects are not printed. Cell attributes such as borders or background colors are not considered cell contents. Empty pages are not counted for page numbering.

Current Situation

Currently LibreOffice does not print all formatted empty cells of a printed sheet. This seems to be a simple bug, but discussion in tdf#39068 - PRINTING only first area with color formatted cells (background, border), same with PDFEXPORT seems to show that there is no agreement concerning all aspects of "Printing empty Cells"

Examples: Please use test kits and sample documents from Bug 39068

Target Situation


  1. WYSIWYG, a printed page of a sheet should show the same contents as visible on screen, except settings are different.
  2. Never print pages behind last cell with content of page (although Excel does that in a different way).
If a user selected fat red border around all cells, he does not want to print all 1 million lines of the sheet, but only the ones with contents
  1. Allow user to select how to proceed with empty pages (without cell contents) in front of last page with contents with a preference: Print pages without cell contents
    1. if the pages will be printed, all formatting will be printed

User scenarios

If this specification does not respect particular needs, please contribute a user scenario showing that issue.

  1. ?

Additional required Fixes

Preference: Suppress empty pages

There are 3 checkboxes in UI that seem to be all for the same: Suppress printing empty pages:

  1. Menu 'Tools -> Options -> Calc > Print
  2. Menu 'File -> Printer settings
  3. Menu 'File -> Print -> LibO Calc - Include output of empty pages

My results
As Testcase Spreadsheet background green in 'A1:B6' background blue in 'A8:B300', 'A1=1', 'A120=3'. Expected result: if print of empty pages is suppressed, only pages 1 and 3 should be printed (because of cell content). If print of empty pages is NOT suppressed, pages 1 to 3 (also empty page 2 with only colored background should be printed. Currently it seems to be not clear what setting might have priority (and what one might change other boxes when modified, too). For example it's possible to have Unselected 'Suppress print of empty pages' in 1, but selected in 2.

A) Modifications in 2 seem to be without any effect, although "Suppress" is checked, empty page remains visible in print preview and will be printed. The setting is without influence for other documents and is enduring until the document will have been closed. When reopened, the setting from 1 has been taken for that checkbox.

B) Modifications in 1 are enduring, also valid for new opened Calc Documents and already opened Calc documents. Checkboxes 2 and 3 will be modified by changes in 1 as expected.

C) Modifications in 3 work for the following print as expected for the current print. For the next print the setting from 1 has been taken for that checkbox.

Conclusion: the hierarchic is useful and logic, but we have an UI bug and Help issues.
To Do: Repair for not working checkbox from A. Links in Help buttons should be modified that relevant Help will be opened directly with click. Help for 1 should mention influence to 2, 3 and also influence for PDF export.

Clarification Need

Navigation within sheet

  1. There is no way to reach the end of a formatted area. It's easy to set background for all cells or a column, but how can I reach the end of the formatted area to set filling of last cell to "without"? Ctrl+End will not work. Currently not a real bug, because due to HELP formatting is no contents, but might be irksome for some users.


Detail OOo Excel 2010 Others
print range like LibO? If no suppressions have been activated, all pages with cell contents AND formatting will be printed, also behind last cell contents. ....
. .. ... ....

Own conclusions

  • print range: Excel Behavior is not a good idea, LibO Target is more comfortable for most applications. If user wants to print empty pages behind last real cell contents, he can type a blank into the last required page.

UI definitions

If no bugs will be found, no bigger modifications will be required
Currently a useful help text concerning influence or "suppress print of empty pages" only will be reached from Menu 'Tools -> Options -> Calc > Print' in lots of steps, from other dialogs you cant reach useful help concerning this particular setting. Clicking Help button should directly lead to expected HELP

Possible settings with influence

what needs to be added / changed

  • ????

Tool tips and enhanced tool tips

Help texts affected

  • Help more or less contains all required information.
    • But complete definition of Empty pages is missing: Empty pages are pages without contents between 'A1' ad last "real" content of the sheet. Empty cells of a sheet far behind 'A1="x"' are not "empty pages", no suppression is required to prevent from printing 1000 empty pages.
    • Influence to PDF export is missing
  • Calc Printer Setup and Help you reach from Calc Menu 'File -> Printer Settings' is without Calc specific information concerning "Options" button.

Alternative Solutions

Print all formatted cells

  • Pro
    • ?
  • Contra
    • Unexpected big printouts if all cells of a sheet have background or border

Additional Information

Related / Open bug reports

  • Direct relation
    • tdf#39068 - PRINTING only first area with color formatted cells (background, border), same with PDFEXPORT
  • Indirect relation
    • tdf#30800 - EasyHack?: UI: grid lines disappeared in Calc for cells with background color
    • tdf#39109 - UI: Checkbox 'Suppress output of empty pages' without influence
  • Not related, but found during investigations:
    • tdf#39111 - UI inconsistent concerning suppression of output for empty pages
    • tdf#39110 - WIKIHELP: Page completely broken for "Printer Setup"

File Format

no changes


no changes


no changes


Last but not least


Rolen Name Contact
Developer Kohei Yoshida ........
Documentation David Nelson ........
User Experience Regina Henschel ........
Design Christoph Noack ........
Quality Assurance Rainer Bielefeld
... ...... ........

Terms, Acronyms and Abbreviations

Some may be only valid for this specification

Term, Acronym or Abbreviation Definition
WYSIWYG What You See Is What You Get
Formatting Cell borders and cell background
Print / Printing also includes PDF export
cell contents values, strings, formulas, but not background or borders
... ......