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: Changing the Number of Columns in the Middle of a Document.

Changing the Number of Columns in the Middle of a Document

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 13, 2020)

For some document layouts, columns can be used to present your information clearly and concisely. What if you already have a document and you want to format only part of it in columns? As an example, let's assume you have a five-page document, and you want to format the center part of page two as three columns. You want the rest of the document to remain a single column. To accomplish this formatting challenge, you can follow these steps:

  1. Place the insertion point at the beginning of the text that will appear in the columns.
  2. Choose Break from the Insert menu. Word displays the Break dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Break dialog box.

  4. Choose the Continuous radio button.
  5. Click on OK. Word inserts a continuous section break in your document.
  6. Place the insertion point at the end of the text that will appear in the columns.
  7. Repeat steps 2 through 4 to insert another continuous section break.
  8. Place the insertion point anywhere within the text that will appear in the columns.
  9. Choose the Columns option from the Format menu. You will see the Columns dialog box. (See Figure 2.)
  10. Figure 2. The Columns dialog box.

  11. In the Number of Columns field, specify the number of columns you desire.
  12. In the Apply To drop-down list, make sure it says This Section.
  13. Click on OK.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (984) 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: Changing the Number of Columns in the Middle of a Document.

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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