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: Columns in a Text Box.

Columns in a Text Box

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 27, 2015)

When you plan the layout of your document, you can utilize columns in your design. You can also use text boxes to place "special" information into your document. What if you want to place columns within a text box, though?

Unfortunately, this cannot be done. The reason is rather simple, based on an understanding of how Word documents are constructed. Columns are a feature available on a section-by-section basis within a document. Sections (and therefore columns) reside on the text layer of a document. Text boxes, however, are independent elements that reside on the graphics layer of a document. They are graphics-based, not text-based, even though you can include formatted text within a text box.

There are ways around the problem, however. Since text boxes are designed to contain limited amounts of text, you could place a table within the text box and place your text within the columns of the table. This will, of course, require you to manipulate the text by hand since it won't automatically "snake" from one table column to another. For limited text it can do the trick quite nicely, however.

Another possible solution is to use multiple text boxes. Follow these general steps:

  1. Create your first text box so that it is the width of a single "column" in your layout.
  2. Copy the text box to the Clipboard and paste it back into the document multiple times.
  3. Move the multiple text boxes so that they are next to each other. These text boxes serve as your "columns."
  4. Right-click on the left-most text box and then choose Create Text Box Link from the resulting Context menu. The mouse pointer changes to a graphic of a measuring cup.
  5. Click in the text box you want to serve as your second column. The two text boxes are now linked and text will flow from one to the other.
  6. If you have more than two "columns," repeat steps 4 and 5 with the other text boxes in your layout.
  7. Enter your text in the left-most text box, and it will naturally flow into the other text boxes.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (3405) 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: Columns in a Text Box.

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

Non-Printing Hyperlinks

Karen is having problems getting hyperlinks to print in a document on her home computer. There are only a limited number of ...

Discover More

Creating a Letterhead Template

Word is often used to write all sorts of letters. You may want to create a template that makes creating your letters easier ...

Discover More

Modifying Axis Scale Labels

You want your chart to display information as clearly and succinctly as possible. Modifying the labels used to indicate the ...

Discover More

The First and Last Word on Word! Bestselling For Dummies author Dan Gookin puts his usual fun and friendly candor back to work to show you how to navigate Word 2013. Spend more time working and less time trying to figure it all out! Check out Word 2013 For Dummies today!

More WordTips (menu)

Adding Sidebars

When designing your document, you may want to use sidebars like you see in magazines and some books. This tip explains the ...

Discover More

Automatically Adjusting Height for Text Boxes

Text boxes are often used to enhance the layout of documents. You may want a text box that adjusts its height automatically ...

Discover More

Including Text Box Text in Word Counts

If you use text boxes in the layout of your documents, you should know that any word counts you perform do not include any ...

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}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 8Mpixels. 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 7 - 0?

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.

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.