Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Although using columns for a short document seems to work well in Word, putting text into
columns in a document of ten pages or more is better done in a desktop publishing program
(DTP). See the nearby sidebar, “For advanced formatting, nothing beats DTP.”
Maximum number of columns per page? That depends on the size of the page. Word’s
minimum column width is half an inch, so a typical sheet of paper can have up to 12 columns on it —
not that such a layout would be appealing or anything.
For advanced formatting, nothing beats DTP
I’ll be honest up front: When you desire columns for whatever you’re writing, what you need is desktop
publishing, or DTP, software. Desktop publishing isn’t about writing; it’s about assembling text that you’ve
already written with graphics and other design elements and then laying them out as a professional would.
DTP is built for such a task. It can handle it.
Word’s ability to march text into columns isn’t its best feature. Columns work for smaller documents — say,
one-sheet newsletters, trifold brochures, or fliers. Beyond that, I highly recommend using DTP software for
your demanding documents. Both Adobe InDesign and Microsoft Publisher are good places to start, if
you’re interested in DTP software.
Making two-column text
Two columns are sufficient to impress anyone. More columns make your text skinnier and more
difficult to read. Here’s how you create a two-column document on a standard sheet of paper, in the
1. Start up a new document.
Or if you have an existing document, move the toothpick cursor to the document’s tippy-top:
2. From the Columns menu, choose Two.
The entire document flows in two columns, or if you’re starting out, you’ll notice that text is
organized in columns.
To restore the document to one column, repeat the steps in this section, but in Step 2, choose