Working with multi-column documents

Multi-Column Document 

There are several ways to create a multi-column document. To create columns on the fly, click the Columns button on the Standard toolbar. If you have certain specifications—for example, exact column measurements, a spacing requirement of certain size, or more than four columns—use the Columns dialog box to choose those settings. Select Format à Columns.

Switch to Print Layout view 

Display your document in Print Layout view before you begin working with columns. Normal view, Web Layout view, and Outline view won’t allow you to see columns as they appear in print. To display Print Layout view, Select View à Print Layout or click Print Layout View to the left of the horizontal scroll bar. 

Columns Button 

The easiest way to create a multi-column document is to click Columns on the Standard toolbar. When you click the button, a menu presents the choice of one to four columns. Click the column setting you want, and Word will automatically update the layout in the document. 

Columns the Quick way

To create columns for a portion of the document, select the area to which you want to apply the column format before you click the Columns button. The only way you can see that Word has, in fact, created columns in your document is that the margins on the ruler will show the new boundaries. If the ruler isn’t currently displayed in your document, Select View à Ruler.

Custom Column using the Columns Dialog Box 

If you have certain column specifications that you need to enter—for example, you’re creating a follow-up report based on a format your department has adopted as its report format—you can create and work with columns by using the Columns dialog box. 

  1. Select Format à Columns. The Columns dialog box is displayed.

  2. Click the column format of your choice. The Preview section will show you the format you have selected.

  3. Click OK. The formatting is applied.

Word assumes that you want your columns to be created equally and that you don’t want a line to be placed between the columns you create. If you want to add a line between columns, select the Line Between check box and Word will add the rule.


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