We use Excel 2011 for OSX at work and we are consistently encountering the following problem. When we have a multi sheet(page) workbook(document), with both landscape and portrait pages, an error occurs when we try to go to export to a PDF file (file > print > pdf). Instead of generating a multipage PDF file Excel will generate each sheet as a pdf. We can of course combine these back into 1 PDF file once generated in Adobe Acrobat,but it's a fiddly work around for something thats pretty basic and works fine (generates a single PDF file with all pages) in the Windows version of Excel.

I've attached a sample excel file if you want to see the problem first hand. : - https://www.dropbox.com/s/enrgch3znd4z89n/sample%20excel.xlsx

  • I receive an error when I try and download your sample Excel file to test.
    – Mort
    Commented Nov 17, 2012 at 19:09
  • @mort was the error with the file, or with the dropbox download ? ive just downloaded it no and it seemed to work fine
    – sam
    Commented Nov 17, 2012 at 20:17
  • I was able to download the file and I've been testing. I done some research and posted a response.
    – Mort
    Commented Nov 17, 2012 at 20:17

1 Answer 1


This appears to be a limitation of the PDF generator within OSX itself. It appears as though the behavior has been present in OSX versions 10.5 Leopard, 10.6 Snow Leopard, 10.7 Lion and 10.8 Mountain Lion. According to posts within the Microsoft Excel 2011 support pages (here, here and here) when you initiate the print to PDF command from within Excel 2011 the program hands off the actual generation of said PDF to the operating system. On the surface it appears as though OSX is interpreting the page orientations differently and outputting as separate PDF files. I checked through the known issues with Microsoft Excel 2011 to see if there is an outstanding bug for this behavior but nothing seems readily apparent. The support pages contain references to different methodologies to get around the problem such as:

The information available reports varying degrees of success depending on what solution you ultimately end up choosing. All the solutions seem to be more of the same shim type work arounds with no easy / native (within Excel 2011) solution.

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