I have two datasets with 50 columns and 1-100 rows.

I need to display comparison of these two datasets in a report (standard letter).

So, say my first dataset is as follows:

Name   Price    Qty    Location   ...............     
Pen     $10       5     Basement
Pencil  $8       11     Drawer

My second dataset:

Name   Price    Qty    Location   ...............     
Pen     $11      5     Garage
Pencil  $1       12     Upstairs

Now I need to show items that didn't match in two datasets on the report.

I was thinking about creating a regular table with merged cells, but, since I have 50 columns I will end up with 100 columns.

Something like this:

Name    Price     Qty      Location
        1st/2nd   1st/2nd  1st/2nd
Pen     $10/$11            Basement/Garage

This creates two problems though(maybe more): 1. Blanks for identical values. 2. Large horizontal table that doesn't fit the page even in multiple column rows.

Any suggestions on how to present this data?

  • Break it down into smaller pieces.
    – dnbrv
    Apr 17, 2012 at 2:47
  • use scrollable tables
    – sree
    Apr 17, 2012 at 6:51

2 Answers 2


You can give User interface for selecting on demand column. Whenever user requires particular column can display on page and take print according to standard letter size. So selecting column on the fly for report will be work for you.


Summarize. Present key information in a chart format. For example, a pie chart showing "Top selling products by type", or a bar chart comparing "Sales totals by location". Pull the trends out of the data and present those.

There's no good way to print a 50-column spreadsheet on a standard piece of paper. Although, you could format the spreadsheet to print over multiple pieces of paper and then tape them up on a wall. See http://legalofficeguru.com/printing-large-microsoft-excel-sheets/.

If this were a web application, you could add an advanced search tool below the charts. Provide a field for keyword search, plus common filters like time, location and product type. Then users can search for just the information they need without browsing the whole table. If you have to present the whole data set, you can always include a link to download an Excel, CSV or tab-delimited file.

Good luck.

  • This answer gets my vote for the comment "There's no good way to print a 50-column spreadsheet" alone. It's the hard truth.
    – Mal Ross
    Apr 5, 2023 at 6:00

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