Columns

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

Introduction

Video: Columns

Launch "Columns" video!Watch the video (2:38).

Sometimes the information you include in your document is best displayed in columns. Not only can columns help improve readability, but some types of documents—like newspaper articles, newsletters, and flyers—are often written in column format. Word also allows you to adjust your columns by adding column breaks.

Optional: Download our practice document.

To add columns to a document:

  1. Select the text you want to format.


    Screenshot of Word 2013Selecting text to format
  2. Select the Page Layout tab, then click the Columns command. A drop-down menu will appear.
  3. Select the number of columns you want to create.


    Screenshot of Word 2013Formatting text into columns
  4. The text will format into columns.


    Screenshot of Word 2013The formatted text

To remove column formatting, place the insertion point anywhere in the columns, then click the Columns command on the Page Layout tab. Select One from the drop-down menu that appears.

Screenshot of Word 2013Removing column formatting

Your column choices aren't limited to the drop-down menu that appears. Select More Columns... at the bottom of the menu to access the Columns dialog box. Click the arrows next to the Number of columns: to adjust the number of columns.

Screenshot of Word 2013The Columns dialog box

If you want to adjust the spacing and alignment of columns, click, hold, and drag the indent markers on the Ruler until the columns appear the way you want.

Screenshot of Word 2013Adjusting the column

Adding column breaks

Once you've created columns, the text will automatically flow from one column to the next. Sometimes, though, you may want to control exactly where each column begins. You can do this by creating a column break.

To add a column break:

In our example below, we'll add a column break that will move text to the beginning of the next column.

  1. Place the insertion point at the beginning of the text you want to move.


    Screenshot of Word 2013Placing the insertion point
  2. Select the Page Layout tab, then click the Breaks command. A drop-down menu will appear.
  3. Select Column from the menu.


    Screenshot of Word 2013Adding a column break
  4. The text will move to the beginning of the column. In our example, it moved to the beginning of the next column.


    Screenshot of Word 2013After adding a column break

To learn more about adding breaks to your document, visit our lesson on Breaks.

Challenge!

  1. Open an existing Word document. If you want, you can use our practice document.
  2. Select the text you want to format into columns. If you're using the example, select the two bulleted lists in the New Online Resident Portal section.
  3. Format the selected text into two columns.
  4. Add a column break. If you're using the example, add a column break before Communicate with Lime Grove staff.