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Creating Columns in Word Documents
A number of readers have asked how to divide text into columns within Microsoft Word.

Well, there are four basic column types that I like to call
"Book," "Newspaper," "Table" and "Tabbed."
  1. Book columns are those in which text normally continues from one column to the next upon reaching the bottom of a page.
  2. Newspaper columns are those in which a story is generally continued elsewhere if it's not completed within one column on a page.
  3. A table column is a vertical field of cells within a table. Columns in a database, are called "fields," while rows are called "records."
  4. Tabbed columns are often used in a menu, in which an item is shown on the left of a page and its price is on the right. If various descriptors appear between the item and its price they are "columnized" by tabbing to specific measurements within the line.


1 - To create "book-type" columns in pre-2007 versions of MSWord, click on Format>Columns and choose how many you want. Other options will appear, such as how wide the columns should be and how much space should appear between them.

In Word 2007, click on Page Layout>Columns, and click the down arrow for more options.

2 - You can also use the above steps to create "newspaper-type" columns, in which you might divide a paragraph into three columns, followed by dividing the next one into, say, two columns. Subsequent paragraphs can be divided up however you want.

3 - You can also use "table" columns to achieve a "newspaper-like" effect. Create a table in pre-2007 versions of MSWord, by clicking on Table>Insert Table, and designate how many rows and columns it should have. Each "cell" within a table can be treated as an independent page, in terms of editing and formatting. In fact, although columns are normally the same width from the top to bottom, cells within a table can be stretched or shrunk to different widths.

In Word 2007, click on Insert>Table, and click the down arrow for more options.



4 - "Tabbed columns" can be established by using Word's horizontal ruler. If you don't see it, click View>Ruler to make it appear at the top of your window. The tiny L at the ruler's left says the tabs will be LEFT aligned. Click the L twice to change it to an R and cause the prices to be aligned to the RIGHT.

      Additional clicks will display markers for Center and Decimal alignment, among others. Click on the ruler to establish your TAB points.


      Once you've created a line of tabbed text, pressing ENTER will begin a new line with the same TAB settings. If you later decide a tab should have been further to the left or right, you can grab it and move it accordingly. Everything aligned to that tab will move with it.

      However – and this is critical – only mouse-selected lines (paragraphs) will follow a shifted tab. If no lines are selected, only items in the line currently containing the cursor will follow a shifted tab.

      This has been a very brief overview on how various types of columns are created in Microsoft Word.

More information can be found here:
    Columns in Word Processing Documents
and here:
     Lining Up Numbers in Columns

The text on this page was created with a Google Chromebook (purchased at Amazon.com)
and edited with Google Drive & Google Docs.

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