Creating Columns in Word

With Word 2003 and earlier you create columns on your page in Word by going into the Format menu and then selecting Columns. With Word 2007 and later you get the same option by selecting the Page Layout ribbon and then selecting Columns.

Word 2003 then brings up a dialog box providing you with several different preset options (one two and three equal spaced columns and also two variants with a narrow and a wide column). There is also an option for setting how many columns you want and also for setting widths and spacing for up to three columns. Finally you have the option of setting the columns for just the current page or the entire document. Word 2007 provides the preset options from the dropdown list or you can select More Columns to open the dialog.

Once way in which a Word Processing program such as this differs from a desktop publishing program is that once you have set your page to use columns you can't place anything in the page that spans columns - or at least you can't using the columns option.

The only way in Word to split a part of the page into columns rather than the entire page is to insert a table into the page instead. To do this in Word 2003 and earlier you would select the Table menu and then Insert and then Table. You would then select the number of columns you want and set the number of rows to one. Once you have entered the content into the columns and have resized the columns to how you want it by dragging the table borders you would then turn off the borders using the Format then Borders and Shading option and selecting None for the borders.

In Word 2007 the table options can be found on the Insert ribbon in the Table dropdown. When you have the table selecte additional ribbons are added and the option for turning off the table borders so as to create the effect of having columns is on the Design ribbon.


This article written by Stephen Chapman, Felgall Pty Ltd.

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