How to Create Columns in Microsoft Word

When you write newsletters, journals, or work for newspapers or magazines, you need to use column format to improve the document organization and overall readability. Microsoft Word, the most popular word-processing software, has several options for creating and managing columns. Here’s how to make columns in Microsoft Word on Windows and Mac.

You can add one, two, or three columns to neatly break down your document for a specific document or a report. You can also add custom column breaks to your preference. Without further ado, let’s get started.

Create Columns in Microsoft Word on Windows

Microsoft offers feature-rich Office apps on Windows and Mac. The company uses an identical user interface on both platforms. We will use Word for Windows in the screenshots below. You can follow the same on Microsoft Word for Mac to create columns. 

Step 1: Open any document on Microsoft Word for Windows or Mac.

Step 2: The default layout uses a single column for your document. Click Layout on the menu bar.

Step 3: Expand Columns. Select One, Two, Three, Left, or Right.

Microsoft Word quickly divides your document into relevant columns.

Customize Columns in Microsoft Word

If you don’t prefer the default columns width and spacing in Microsoft Word, you can create a custom one based on your preference. Here’s what you need to do.

Step 1: Open a document in Microsoft Word and select Columns in the Layout menu (check the steps above).

Step 2: Select More Columns.

Step 3: Check Presets at the top. Enter the number of columns.

Step 4: You can change width and spacing and apply custom changes to specific pages only. Click Ok and check your columns in action.

Add Column Breaks in Microsoft Word

Some writers prefer to apply manual column breaks for a better reading experience. The trick above doesn’t give you control over column brakes. Here’s what you need to do.

Step 1: Open a Word document and keep your cursor where you want to create a column.

Step 2: Select Layout at the top. Expand Breaks.

Step 3: Select Column and create a column where you want. You can check the screenshot below for reference.

Remove Columns in Microsoft Word

If you don’t like columns view in Microsoft Word, you can always revert to the standard page style. You can quickly press Ctrl + Z keyboard shortcut to undo the column or use the steps below.

Step 1: Open your Word Document. Select Layout at the top of your the document.

Step 2: Expand Columns and select One.

Microsoft Word reverts to the normal document style.

Enable Text Boundaries

This is another useful feature while printing documents in Microsoft Word. When you enable the ‘Text boundaries’ in Word, you see dotted lines appearing in the document to limit the text elements. You can check dotted lines around your text, headers, footers, and footnotes.

If you often with the ‘Print Layout View,’ enable the text boundaries feature.

Step 1: Open Microsoft Word and click File in the top left corner.

Step 2: Select Options.

Step 3: Open Advanced and scroll to ‘Show document content.’ Enable the ‘Show text boundaries’ toggle.

You can check the screenshot below to check it in action.

Create Columns in Microsoft Word for Tablet

The ability to create columns in Microsoft Word is available on mobile and tablet. The experience and the features aren’t as extensive as the desktop version, though. It’s useful for someone who is always on the go and wants to make some last-minute changes to the document. We will use Microsoft Word for iPad in the screenshots below.

Step 1: Download Microsoft 365 app on your tablet. Open the app and sign in with your Microsoft account details.

Step 2: Open a document and select Layout at the top.

Step 3: Expand Columns and select One, Two, or Three.

Can You Create Columns in Microsoft Word Web Version

Unfortunately, you can’t create columns in Microsoft Word’s web version. You need to use the native apps on the desktop or tablet to get the job done.

Craft Your Perfect Document on Microsoft Word

Not everyone prefers the default page settings on Microsoft Word. You can also change the default page layout in Microsoft Word. How do you plan to use columns in Word? Share your preference in the comments below.

Last updated on 26 June, 2023

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