Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Word 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Word, click here: Adding Columns to Your Page Layout.

Adding Columns to Your Page Layout

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated November 13, 2021)

As you format your documents in Word, you may find it better to lay out your text in columns. This is usually done if you are developing a newsletter or a magazine layout. The number of columns you use is up to you—Word allows you to divide your page into as many as 100 columns (depending on your version of Word), although this may look a bit strange. To add columns, follow these steps:

  1. Position the insertion point at the beginning of the material you want to appear in columns.
  2. Select the Columns option from the Format menu. Word displays the Columns dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Columns dialog box.

  4. Click on one of the presets at the top of the dialog box, or specify the number of columns wanted in the Number of Columns field.
  5. If you don't want your entire document to have columns, in the Apply To drop-down list select This Point Forward. This causes Word to apply columns beginning where the insertion point is located.
  6. Click on the Line Between check box (if you want a vertical line between the columns).
  7. Click on OK.

What if you have a document and you want to format part of it in columns? As an example, let's assume you have a 5-page document, and you want to format the center part of page 2 as three columns. You want rest of the document to remain a single column. To overcome this formatting challenge there are only two changes you need to make to the above steps. First, in step 1, you need to select the text that will appear in the columns. Second, in step 4, you need to use the Apply To drop-down list to choose Selected Text.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (184) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) here: Adding Columns to Your Page Layout.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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