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: Determining a Column Width.

Determining a Column Width

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated June 17, 2022)
This tip applies to Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003


One of the first things you must do when you plan your page layout is determine how wide a column of text will be on the page. In typography, there is an old rule of thumb that the column width should be no more than 1.5 times the width of the alphabet, in the font you are using. Thus, you need to determine your font and your type size before you pick a column width. When you have done this, you can type the alphabet one and a half times (A through Z and then A through M), all uppercase, to determine the best column width. Any wider, and the reader's eyes tend to wander as they are reading.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (982) 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: Determining a Column Width.

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Printing a Draft of a Document

Need to print a copy of a document but you don't care if it looks as "pretty" as you want the final printout to look? You ...

Discover More

Editing Registry Values

The Registry is the central depository of configuration information used by Windows and by programs running on your ...

Discover More

Quickly Inserting a New Worksheet

Want a quick way to insert a worksheet? There's nothing faster than using the handy shortcut.

Discover More

Do More in Less Time! Are you ready to harness the full power of Word 2013 to create professional documents? In this comprehensive guide you'll learn the skills and techniques for efficiently building the documents you need for your professional and your personal life. Check out Word 2013 In Depth today!

More WordTips (menu)

Adding a Background to Your Document

Document backgrounds come in handy if you plan on converting the document to a Web page. Here's how you can add a ...

Discover More

Starting a New Section on an Odd Page Number

A common pagination convention used in publishing is for new chapters (and sometimes new sections) to start on an ...

Discover More

Making Wider Footer Margins

Want the margins used in your footers (or headers) to be wider than the margins used in the rest of your document? There ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 4 + 6?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the menu interface (Word 97, Word 2000, Word 2002, or Word 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Videos
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.