Working with Columns

Working with Columns

If you plan to produce newsletters, bulletins , journal articles, and so on, you'll appreciate Word's capability to format text in multiple columns. When you use this feature, the text snakes from column to column (see Figure 8.10). After you've formatted your text in columns, changing the number of columns is a breeze .

Figure 8.10. This document is formatted in two columns.



If you want to create columns of text that do not wrap from one column to the next , use either custom tabs or a table.

Creating Columns

Columns fall into the page formatting category. As with other page formatting, columns apply to your entire document unless you insert section breaks around the text that you want in columns. For example, you might do this is if you want a title above the columns that is centered in the middle of the page (see Figure 8.11). To do this, you need to insert a continuous section break between the title and the remainder of the document.

Figure 8.11. A continuous section break separates the title from the rest of the text.


You can then leave the default (single) column formatting in the first section, and apply two or more columns to the rest of the text.

Follow these steps to format your text in columns.

  1. Make sure you're using Print Layout view (choose View, Print Layout). Columns don't display accurately in Normal view.

  2. If you have inserted section breaks, make sure your insertion point is in the section where you want to apply the columns. If you're applying columns to the entire document, your insertion point can be anywhere in the text.

  3. Click the Columns button on the Formatting toolbar, and click the number of columns that you want in the grid that drops down (see Figure 8.12).

    Figure 8.12. Click the number of columns that you want in the grid attached to the Columns button in the Formatting toolbar.


Word creates the number of columns that you specified. If you decide to change the number of columns in your document, follow these steps again. To remove columns, click the leftmost column in the grid in step 3.

Modifying Columns

Follow these steps if your columns need to be a specific width or if you want to add a vertical line between the columns:

  1. Click anywhere in the multiple-column text, and choose Format, Columns to display the Columns dialog box (see Figure 8.13).

    Figure 8.13. You can make changes to your column formatting in the Columns dialog box.


  2. If you see a format under Presets at the top of the dialog box that matches what you want, click it.

  3. If you have specific requirements for column widths, first clear the Equal Column Width check box. Then enter the desired settings for each column under Width and Spacing. ( Spacing refers to the amount of space between columns.)

  4. To add vertical lines between your columns, mark the Line Between check box.

  5. When you have made all your selections, click OK.

Columns sometimes look better if the text is justified so that it has a straight right edge. If you do justify your text, it will probably look best if you hyphenate it as well to reduce gaps between words. To apply hyphenation, choose Tools, Language, Hyphenation, mark the Automatically Hyphenate Document check box, and click OK.

If you need to force a column to break in a particular place, move the insertion point there, choose Insert, Break, mark the Column Break option button, and click OK.


To balance the length of your columns on the last page of a document, insert a continuous section break at the very end of the document. (Press Ctrl+End to move to the end of the document, choose Insert, Break, mark the Continuous option button, and click OK.)

Sams Teach Yourself Office Productivity All in One
Sams Teach Yourself Office Productivity All in One (Sams Teach Yourself All in One)
ISBN: 0672325349
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2003
Pages: 474
Authors: Greg Perry © 2008-2017.
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