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: Setting Up Multi-page Columns.

Setting Up Multi-page Columns

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated November 4, 2017)


Ivan has been struggling trying to set up parallel columns that go from one page to the next. What he wants is, in landscape mode, to have three columns on the page. When the text reaches the bottom of a column, it flows to the same column on the next page, not to the next column on the same page.

The best solution for this is to use a table with a single row and as many columns as you need. The row can span multiple pages, and the text will stay in each cell of the table, as desired. You may have to play around with the formatting a bit (turning off borders, adjusting interior spacing, locking column width, adding columns for additional spacing, etc.), but once you get the hang of it, the approach is quite simple.

There is a caveat to all this, of course. Tables, while they can span multiple pages, can do some funny things if they span many, many pages. It is a good idea to periodically start a new row. If you do lots of this type of formatting, it is an even better idea to get a desktop publishing program, such as InDesign, which can make very short work of such layout challenges.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (362) 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: Setting Up Multi-page Columns.

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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What is five less than 8?

2018-01-11 11:03:30

Peter Lindner

Hey: Thanks!
I use MS Office 2016 and I couldn't go from 1 column to 2 columns without a page break.
Using a 2 column "table" was a great solution.

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