How to Create Columns in Microsoft Word

903479 How to Create Columns in Microsoft Word

Columns allow you to arrange text into vertical sections on a page, similar to a newspaper or magazine layout. Adding columns in Word is easy and can help improve the readability and appearance of certain types of documents.

In this guide, you’ll learn how to:

  • Add preset column layouts
  • Create custom column settings
  • Apply columns to selected text
  • Insert column breaks
  • Remove columns

Benefits of Using Columns

Here are some of the benefits of using columns in Word:

  • Improves readability – Columns with narrower widths are easier to read than text stretched across a wide page.
  • Adds visual interest – Columns give documents more visual appeal and style.
  • Better focus – Columns draw attention to the text and make it less likely readers will skip over it.
  • Flexibility – You can mix columned and non-columned sections as needed.

Columns work well for documents like newsletters, brochures, flyers, reports, proposals, manuals, and some types of letters.

Add Preset Column Layouts

The easiest way to add columns is to use one of Word’s preset column layouts:

  1. Select the text you want to apply columns to. If you want columns for your entire document, skip this step.
  2. On the Layout tab, click Columns, then select one of the preset options:
  • One column (default layout)
  • Two columns
  • Three columns
  • Left column
  • Right column

The selected text will change to the chosen column layout.

Selecting two column layout

Selecting a two column layout.

You can go back and change the number of columns at any time by repeating the steps above.

Create Custom Columns

For more control, you can create custom column settings:

  1. On the Layout tab, click Columns > More Columns.
  2. In the Columns dialog box, configure options like:
  • Number of columns
  • Width and spacing
  • Line between columns
  • Apply to selected text or entire document
  1. Click OK when you are done.

This allows you to dial in the exact column specifications you want.

Custom column settings

Customizing column layout settings.

Apply Columns to Selected Text

By default, any column formatting you choose is applied to the entire document. However, you can also apply columns just to a selected block of text:

  1. Select the text you want to make into columns
  2. On the Layout tab, choose the desired column number or layout
  3. Only the selected text will change to columns

The text above and below the selection will remain in a single column. This lets you mix columned and non-columned sections as needed.

Insert Column Breaks

If you don’t like how the text flows from column to column automatically, you can insert column breaks to control where each column starts and ends.

To add a column break:

  1. Place your cursor where you want the next column to begin
  2. On the Layout tab, click Breaks > Column

Text after the break will flow into the new column.

Add multiple column breaks to create any column pattern you need.

Remove Columns

To go back to a single column layout:

  1. Place your cursor anywhere in the columned section
  2. On the Layout tab, click Columns then select One

The columns will be removed.

Or to remove columns from just part of the document:

  1. Select the text with columns
  2. On the Layout tab, click Columns > One

And that’s all there is to it! With these steps you can add, customize, break up, and remove columns in Word documents to create the layout you want.

Experiment with columns and see if they can enhance the appearance and readability of your Word documents. Let us know in the comments if you have any other column tips or tricks in Word!

About The Author