How to Create Two Columns in Google Docs

341573 How to Create Two Columns in Google Docs

Google Docs is a versatile word processor that allows you to create professional documents right from your browser. One useful formatting feature in Google Docs is the ability to split your document into two columns. This gives your text a newspaper or magazine-like appearance that can improve readability.

In this article, we’ll walk through the steps to create two columns in Google Docs using simple markdown formatting.

When to Use Two Columns

There are several situations where splitting text into two columns can be beneficial:

  • Comparing information side-by-side: You can place related content in each column to allow for easy comparison. For example, you may have a column with product features and an adjacent column with the benefits of those features.
  • Fitting more text per page: Two columns let you maximize space and fit roughly twice as much text on each page. This is great if you have a lot of content.
  • Mimicking a newspaper or magazine layout: The two column format gives documents a more stylized, professional look commonly seen in print publications.
  • Improving readability: Shorter line lengths in columns can increase readability compared to a single wide column of text.

Step-by-Step Guide

Follow these simple steps to create two columns in Google Docs:

1. Highlight the Text

First, highlight the text you want to place into two columns. If you want the entire document in columns, you can skip this step and select the columns format to apply it to all text.

2. Open the Columns Dialog Box

Next, go to the top menu and select Format > Columns:

Format columns menu in Google Docs

3. Select Two Columns

In the Columns dialog box, click the two column layout:

Select two columns in Google Docs

The selected text will instantly split into two columns.

4. Customize Column Settings (Optional)

You can further customize the look and layout of the columns by clicking More options in the Columns dialog box. Here you can adjust column spacing, add dividers between columns, and more.

Advanced column formatting options in Google Docs

And that’s all there is to it! The text will now flow in two column format.

Tips for Working with Columns

Here are some handy tips when writing text in two columns within Google Docs:

  • Use the column break feature to jump between columns manually. Find this under Insert > Break > Column break.
  • The columns will fill up evenly. Text will flow to the bottom of the first column before populating the second column.
  • Resize column width by adjusting page margins rather than dragging dividers (which can cause formatting issues).
  • Columns will reflow as you edit or add text. Use page break instead of column break if you want to prevent changes to column lengths.
  • You can apply columns to just part of your document by selecting text before choosing the columns option.

Common Uses for Two Columns

As we mentioned earlier, there are several great uses for two columns in Google Docs:

Compare Products, Services, or Features

Use two columns to compare sets of features, products, or services side-by-side:

| Feature           | Product A     | Product B     |
| :---------------- |:-------------:| -------------:|
| Price             | $49           | $59           |
| Weight            | 6 oz          | 8 oz          | 
| Wireless          | Yes           | No            |

Create Newspaper-Style Articles or Blog Posts

Two columns give articles an authentic newspaper or magazine feel:

Newspaper article example

Image source: How-To Geek

List Pros and Cons

Use columns to compare pros and cons visually:

| Pros                      | Cons                       |
| :------------------------ | :------------------------- |
| Increased productivity    | High upfront costs         |
| Improved workflow         | Steep learning curve       |
| Enhanced collaboration    | May require extra resources| 

As you can see, the two column layout has a wide variety of uses to improve the way you present information in your documents.

Troubleshooting Columns in Google Docs

If you run into issues when creating or editing two columns in Google Docs, here is how to troubleshoot some common problems:

Text or images overlap between columns

Adjust column spacing in the More Options menu or edit page margins to fit your content.

Can’t get text to flow properly between columns

Insert column breaks manually or use page break instead of column break.

Columns appear uneven despite having enough text

Columns will appear uneven if there is not enough text to populate the second column. Continue typing and columns will even out when the text reaches the bottom.

Columns revert back to one column unexpectedly

A document-wide columns format was likely overwritten accidentally by a single column paragraph style. Select all text and reapply the two column format.

Final Thoughts

With the simple markdown formatting options available in Google Docs, you can easily split text into two clean columns. This opens up new document design possibilities to better showcase your content.

So give the two column layout a try for your next document and take advantage of the flexibility Google Docs offers!

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