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

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 18, 2017)

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

Counting Values in Table Cells

In Excel it is easy to count how many times a certain character occurs in a column of cells. In Word, it is a bit trickier. ...

Discover More

Clearing the Undo Stack in a Macro

When writing a macro, you may need a way to clear the undo stack. This can be done with a single command, as described in ...

Discover More

Table Won't Flow to Second Page

Have you ever created a table that never seems to flow to a second page, even when it should? This could be caused by any ...

Discover More

Learning Made Easy! Quickly teach yourself how to format, publish, and share your content using Word 2013. With Step by Step, you set the pace, building and practicing the skills you need, just when you need them! Check out Microsoft Word 2013 Step by Step today!

MORE WORDTIPS (MENU)

Determining Page Layout

Getting your document onto paper is the whole purpose of word processing. Here are some concepts that are important when ...

Discover More

Getting Identical Margins

Need to get the margins on your document exactly right? It can be a challenge to get the Word settings where you need them ...

Discover More

Avoiding a Section Break Booby Trap

Section breaks got your document formatting all messed up? It could be because of the way you added the section breaks in the ...

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 for this tip:

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}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. 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 8 - 1?

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


Newest Tips
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.

Links and Sharing
Share