Working with Columns

Using columns in Word can improve readability. When using Word columns can break up text and make Word documents easier to read.

Introduction

By the end of this lesson, you should be able to:

  • Change column structure

Working with columns

Displaying information in columns gives you more options for displaying different types of information on a page while remaining easy for viewers to read. Certain kinds of information are best displayed using columns. Newspapers, newsletters, flyers, reports, announcements, school projects, and other types of publications often use Word's column feature.

Below is an example of a newsletter using columns and a graphic:

Columns Example

Working with columns can be challenging, but with practice you'll have columns mastered in no time. An approach we'll first try will be to enter text into a single column and then convert it into multiple columns.

To create columns using the Columns button:

  • Switch to Print Layout view.

    Print Layout View
  • To make equal columns, move the insertion point to the end of the text, then insert a continuous section break by choosing Insert Important pointBreakImportant point Continuous.

    Insert BreakInsert Break Dialog Box
  • Select the text you want to change to columns.
  • Click the Columns button on the Standard toolbar.
  • The Columns button will expand to give you four column options:

    Four Column Options
  • Choose one of the options to format your text into columns.

You can adjust the spacing and alignment of the columns by using the Ruler. Drag the right margin, left margin, and right indent using your mouse until the columns appear the way you want.

Adjust Columns using the Ruler

To enter a title that spans a column:

  • Enter the title at the beginning of the first column.
  • Select the title.
  • Click the Columns button on the Standard toolbar, and drag to select number of columns.

Creating columns using the Columns dialog box

Using the Column dialog box versus the Columns button will give you much more control and precision over your column structure. The Columns dialog box will also give you a few more column options, including left and right columns, as well as the ability to create up to eight columns per page.

To use the Column dialog box:

Columns Dialog Box

The Column dialog box gives you the following options:

To move text into the next column:

Challenge!

Now that you've learned about columns, do you see a need for them in your document? If you are designing a newsletter, you will almost certainly want to use them. Columns can make your newsletter look more professional. If you are designing a flyer, you may or may not want columns.

  • Open your document.
  • Add columns if you would like to.
  • Save and close Word.