Showing results for 
Show  only  | Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
New Member

Odd orientation for Excel files when viewed using BOX

Does anyone have any experience of orientating excel sheets for viewing in Canvas?

We have an MS Excel file that when viewed using Excel looks like this:


But when it is uploaded into Canvas and viewed using the BOX third party app (in the latest Chrome browser) it looks like this:


My question is simple - what are we doing wrong??



9 Replies
Community Champion

Hi,  @ebissoon 

In Excel, check your page layout.  I wonder if that is set to landscape instead of portrait so when Box renders the PDF view, it is using the landscape page orientation. 

Thanks John. This was one of the first things I looked at. The orientation is set to Portrait not Landscape. If I change it to landscape the orientation remains as I've shown it here (in Box) for the first page then switches to the correct orientation for the second page and then continues switching orientation on every other page.

Other excel sheets I've tried look normal - well - as normal as they can be given the content but it's just the orientation in this one file that has me stumped.

Appreciate the reply though. Thank you.

Community Champion

Very odd.  As a work-around, have you tried creating a PDF version yourself and uploading that to Canvas instead of letting Box generate its own?  Obviously that won't work if you want the users to download the Excel file, but that may be a decent work-around if you are just wanting it displayed in the previewer.

I also wonder if you have any print zones configured in the Excel file and it can't fit the first one without auto-switching to landscape.

Community Champion

Similar to what  @John_Lowe ​ has stated, I had to wonder if it's PDF version that's getting upload rather than the native Excel file.  I've taught multiple computer science classes that have used Excel file uploads and have not witnessed this.  I just now tried every which-way I could think of to replicate your issue and have come up with nothing.  Portrait, landscape, large-size paper, repeating column headers, the works.  Everything in Box seems normal for each file I uploaded. 

I know that in the UK you use different paper sizes, so I also tried A3, A4, A5 in my print settings dialog box, saved it, and still things looked absolutely normal.  This is very strange behavior indeed!

Creating a .pdf is a good idea but not feasible in this situation as the Excel file needs to be in an editable format.

The print zones is a good idea but looking at the page breaks and the printable area there doesn't appear to be a correlation between that and the page orientation. Especially when I compare the settings on other excel sheets that do work to this one, there just isn't any reason (that I can see) for why it display the way it does.

I think what I will do now is experiment with Google Drive and marrying it to Canvas that way to see how it looks. I didn't want to suggest this to the user as it then creates an additional step and they would want the access to be as easy as possible because this file will be edited by a number of different staff.

Thanks again.

Thanks @Ken Black - I think I am missing something really obvious but for the life of me I can't think what. I've tried similar things here though the paper size was thing I hadn't tried. Thanks for that.

Community Champion

I also saw this on Box's site that indicates the previewer may have a 100 column limit.

What file types are supported by Box's Content Preview? - Box

Thanks again John and Ken. Appreciate your help in looking into this.

John - thanks for the link to Box's site. It was very useful as it showed that the excel sheet I've been toying with meets the criteria for viewing in Box. The sheet is well within the row/column limit so this is not the issue.

I've now taken a different approach to this now and have experimented with sharing the file using Google Drive and setting a link in Canvas for it. I've also tried out embedding the sheet in a page using this: Using Google Docs for dynamic Canvas content

Mixed results with embedding (vertical rotation of text in the column headings doesn't work but then you can't have everything - Google Groups ) but it does what it says on the tin (so I can't complain) and I'll take that back with me to the primary user of the sheet to see what she thinks.



Community Coach
Community Coach

 @ebissoon ​,

Were you able to find an answer to your question? I am going to go ahead and mark this question as answered because there hasn't been any more activity in a while so I assume that you have the information that you need. If you still have a question about this or if you have information that you would like to share with the community, by all means, please do come back and leave a comment.