Print a Rough Deposition Transcript in Half the Pages

The court reporter just emailed you the rough transcript of today’s deposition, and you’ve absolutely, positively, got to read it on the train tonight.  The idea of reading it off a tablet makes your head hurt, but printing out that .txt file is a terrible waste of paper, and no fun to look at either:

Dummyroughtxtprint_p1 Dummyroughtxtprint_p2

Look at all that wasted space — Yuck!  This example prints out to 141 pages.  Spend a few minutes scrunching this down in Excel and you can save a whole bunch of trees!

This technique basically consists of copying and pasting the entire transcript into Excel, and then deleting all the blank space.  You can reduce the print size even further by deleting certain useless lines and adjusting the print formatting.  Here goes:

Step 1.  Copy and paste the whole transcript into Excel

From the open txt file, hit Ctrl+A to select everything, then Ctrl+C to copy it all to the clipboard.

In a new Excel file, select cell A1 and Paste (Ctrl+V).  Make the column wide enough to accommodate all the text.


You’ll notice that all of the blank space now consists of discrete rows, which can be deleted en masse.

Step 2. Delete the blank rows

Here is where the magic happens. Click on the ‘A’ above the text to select all of Column A.  Then hit the F5 key to launch a dialog box called ‘Go To’  and choose the “Special” option.


Choose “Blanks” and hit OK.


Something pretty special happens–Excel finds and selects every blank cell in Column A:


Now you can delete all the rows where Column A is blank by clicking the dropdown on the Delete tab on the Home ribbon, and clicking on “Delete Sheet Rows”


All that blank space in the entire transcript is now gone:


If you stop here and hit print, you’ve done right by Mother Earth.  But hang in there for a couple more steps and you’ll save still more trees.

Step 3. Delete other useless rows

This step is a little more advanced, but well worth the effort.  Notice how these two rows repeat at the end of every page of the transcript:


One of them is a non-printing character that may show up as a question mark inside a box, or some other nonsense character.  The other is the line that says “UNEDITED, UNPROOFREAD, UNCORRECTED, etc. etc.” We can use the Filter feature to delete all of these at once.

With any cell selected, click on Filter on the Data ribbon.

A drop-down arrow appears in the first cell (Excel thinks this is a header, but it doesn’t really matter).  Click the drop-down arrow and you are presented with options for filtering the cells displayed by Excel.  This is a list of every different value in Column A. When you click certain values Excel will display only those.

Unclick the Select All option and click the box next to the two offending rows in this particular transcript; click OK.

filter-nonprinting-character  filter-useless-row

This should brings up hundreds of results–two for each page in the rough transcript.

Select the filter results, and use the Delete Sheet Rows trick again.

deselect-row-1      delete-sheet-rows-1

Now turn off the filter by hitting the Filter button again.

As shown below, the only rows that remain now for each page are the Header Row with the page number, and the substantive rows 1-25:


Step 5. Adjust the Print Formatting

The last step is a simple one–set the print formatting to make the most of the printed page. Navigate to the Page Layout ribbon and choose Print Titles to get to the print formatting options.  In the Margins tab, reduce the top and bottom margins to half an inch:



Now, hit Print Preview and you’ll see a much svelter printout–without all the blank space and other junk it prints to only 84 pages!

Here’s how it will look now:


Despite the long-winded explanation, this entire process can be completed in about 3 minutes once you get the hang of it.

Please share this tip with anyone who might be tempted to print out a rough transcript the old-fashioned way!

*For this post, I created a “dummy” rough deposition transcript using Lorem Ipsum, an automated Latin text generator.  If you would like a copy of the transcript, just leave a comment, or email Excel Esquire.

About excelesquire

NYC attorney and Excel enthusiast.
This entry was posted in Everybody, Lit Support, Practice Management and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Print a Rough Deposition Transcript in Half the Pages

  1. Carol L says:

    What a great hint!


  2. Jason Carter says:

    Excellent tips! But often blank rows are not entirely blank. They are numbered rows, like a pre-printed hard copy page, that happen to have no content. Similarly, the page number, which is very important for reference and must be kept intact, is a blank row with the number on the far right. Any tips for that?


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