How to Remove Columns in Google Docs

How to Remove Columns in Google Docs How to Remove Columns in Google Docs

Google Docs is a handy free tool that allows you to create documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and more right in your web browser. One of its most useful features is the ability to organize your text into columns, making it easy to create newsletters, flyers, reports, and other multi-column layouts.

But what if you want to remove those columns later on? Maybe you decided you don’t need them anymore, or you just want to revert back to a normal single-column layout. Removing columns in Google Docs is easy, but the steps are a bit hidden.

In this article, I’ll walk you through the quick and simple process of deleting columns in Google Docs in just a few clicks. Whether you have two columns or ten, we’ve got you covered. By the time you’re done reading, you’ll be a pro at removing any columns that are getting in your way.

Why Use Columns in Google Docs?

Before we dive into removing them, it helps to understand why you might want to use columns in Docs in the first place. Here are some of the most common reasons:

  • Create newsletters or flyers – Columns give these types of documents visual interest and organize information well.
  • Compare information – Putting text side-by-side in columns lets you easily compare two or more things.
  • Save space – Columns can fit more text by making the most of horizontal space.
  • Organize data – Information like tables and lists are sometimes easier to manage in columns.

So in many cases, using columns is helpful. But sometimes your document layout needs change after setting up columns initially. Now let’s look at how to easily remove them when needed.

How to Delete Columns in Google Docs

Removing columns in Google Docs only takes a couple of clicks:

  1. Open the document and select the columns you want to delete by highlighting the text. If you want to remove all columns entirely, you don’t need to select anything.
  2. Click Format > Columns > More options. This opens the Columns dialog box.
  3. Under the Number of columns field, change the number to 1. This removes all columns and reverts back to a normal single-column document.
  4. Click Apply. The columns disappear, leaving you with a continuous flow of text again.

And that’s all there is to it! With just those few simple steps, your multi-column format turns back into a basic single-column layout. Let’s look at a quick example.

Example: Switching from Two Columns Back to One

Here’s a step-by-step look at deleting two columns in a Google Doc:

  1. Start with text in two columns. Here I have a flyer-style document with information organized into two columns.
  2. Highlight the full text. To remove both columns entirely, first use your cursor to select all of the text. This will delete the column format across the whole document.
  3. Open the Columns dialog box. Go to Format > Columns > More options to open the settings.
  4. Change Number of columns to 1. This single column value removes the multiple column layout.
  5. Click Apply. Just like that, the text merges into one continuous column again!

It really is as simple as that. The key things to remember are accessing that Columns dialog box then changing the number of columns to 1.

Removing Columns from Part of a Document

The steps above allow you to delete all columns at once. But what if you only want to get rid of columns on certain pages? Or only from a portion of text?

You can do this too by selecting specific sections before adjusting the column settings:

  • To remove columns from certain pages, go to those pages first before opening the Columns dialog box. The updated setting will then apply only to those selected pages.
  • To remove columns from a paragraph or group of paragraphs, highlight the text first before adjusting the column number to 1. This will single-column just that portion of text while keeping other columns intact.

So if you don’t want to eliminate all columns entirely, simply make your text selection first.

When Columns Get Accidentally Inserted

Sometimes you might end up with columns of text when you didn’t mean to. This can happen if you paste content from another source that had multiple columns, for example. The formatting gets inserted along with the text!

To quickly revert to a single column again, simply highlight that section and repeat the steps above:

  1. Select the portion of imported text that has the unintended columns.
  2. Open Format > Columns > More options.
  3. Change the number of columns to 1.
  4. Click Apply.

This will instantly get rid of just those pasted-in columns while keeping other intentional ones.

Troubleshooting Column Deletion Issues

Removing columns in Google Docs is typically straightforward. But occasionally things don’t go according to plan, such as:

  • Columns don’t disappear when you set 1 column
  • Text overlaps instead of returning to a normal flow
  • Columns only get deleted from part of the document

Here are some troubleshooting tips if you run into issues:

  • Make sure the whole document is selected when changing to 1 column if you want to delete all of them.
  • Check for unintended column breaks. Occasionally an extra break gets inserted that overrides the setting. Delete any manual breaks.
  • Refresh the browser. On rare occasions, the document needs to be reloaded.

In most cases, simply ensuring the full text is highlighted first before adjusting the columns dialog does the trick. But let the above tips if your document content acts unexpectedly!

Frequently Asked Questions About Removing Columns

Here are answers to some common questions people have around deleting columns in Google Docs:

How do I remove columns on only certain pages?

First navigate to the pages you want to change. Highlight the full text on those pages. Then open the Columns dialog box and update the setting before applying. This will remove columns from just those selected pages.

What’s the keyboard shortcut to delete columns?

There is no keyboard shortcut specifically for removing columns. But you can use Ctrl/Command + A to select all text first. Then use the Format menu or Columns dialog box to update the number of columns.

Is there an undo option after deleting columns?

Fortunately, yes! Like most things in Google Docs, you can use the Ctrl/Command + Z keyboard shortcut after removing columns to undo it. Or go to Edit > Undo in the menu.

Can I save my multi-column format to use again later?

You sure can. Open a document with the columns you want to reuse, then go to File > Save as template. You can then create new docs based on that templated format.

What happens if I highlight text first before removing columns?

Just the selected text will revert to a single column. Any unselected text will remain in multiple columns. This lets you delete columns from portions of text while preserving the layout of the rest.

Take the Columns Out of Your Google Docs

And there you have it – everything you need to know about erasing columns in Google Docs! While setting up multi-column documents is handy at times, it’s just as useful to be able to remove them when that layout no longer suits your needs.

Luckily, no matter how many columns your text is split into, you can quickly join it back into a single flowing column again with just a couple of clicks. Simply highlight what you want to change, open up the Columns dialog box, set the number to 1, and click Apply.

So don’t be afraid to experiment with columns if you think they’ll help organize your content. You can always delete them again! Just use this guide if you need a refresher on exactly how to remove columns down the road.

Now that you know how to cleanly take columns out of Google Docs, you can flexibly change document layouts anytime. Here’s to keeping your text formatted perfectly no matter what creative ideas you come up with!