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How to Quickly Create Columns in Microsoft Word

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Read Time: 10 min

Sometimes, you need more space on a single page. In Word documents, the best way to do that is to learn how to make columns in Microsoft Word. These give you more space and improve readability.

Intro how to create a column in WordIntro how to create a column in WordIntro how to create a column in Word
Learn more about creating columns in Word in this tutorial. (Background graphic source: Envato Elements.)

There are many options for creating columns in Word. Maybe you want two, three, or even more column Word options. In this tutorial, you'll learn how to create a column in Word and explore all the options.

Why You Should Add Columns in Microsoft Word

Microsoft Word columns are a popular and stylish way to format text. You’ll often see them in printed form, and they’re very easy to create for yourself. I like to add columns in Word to help lay out my documents in an elegant way. 

In this tutorial, you'll learn how to create columns in Word. Like I said, it's a fast and easy process. Once you learn how, you'll be creating columns in Word often. 

But before we get started, it pays to ask: why learn how to make columns in Microsoft Word? The advantages are many, so let's explore them.

How to create columns in WordHow to create columns in WordHow to create columns in Word
Using columns helps you add more content to a page, while keeping it clear and readable. (Image source: Envato Elements.)

By adding column Word designs, you can fit more content onto a page. With columns, you can visually define different sections of your document. Learning how to create columns in Word gives you new options for positioning your content.

Imagine for a moment the front page of your favorite newspaper. Think of how many different topics - in the form of sections and articles - can fit on a single page! Yet, these layouts accomplish this without appearing messy or cluttered. At a glance, you can distinguish unique sections. 

This isn't the only benefit. When you're creating columns in Word, you'll also enjoy:

  • More readable designs. Vast sections of text clustered in paragraphs aren't visually inviting. With columns, your document layouts are cleaner and easier to read.
  • Foldable layouts. With text in columns, you can fold pages once you print them, to create sleek newsletters and more. 
  • Paper savings. By packing more content onto each page, you'll create shorter documents. This is especially valuable if you're planning to print copies. 

As you can see, the benefits of Microsoft Word columns are many. And in moments, you'll know how to make them for yourself.

The best way to start is with a premium Microsoft Word template from Envato Elements. These expertly-built designs help you build stylish documents in seconds. 

Newsletter Microsoft Word columnsNewsletter Microsoft Word columnsNewsletter Microsoft Word columns
Download the premium Newsletter template from Envato Elements to follow along with our Microsoft Word columns tutorial.

In this tutorial, we'll be working with the Newsletter | MS Word & InDesign template from Envato Elements. Download it today to follow along.

Now, let's get started!

The tips in this section were written using macOS and Office 365. If you’ve got a different operating system or a different version of Microsoft Word, your steps may be slightly different.

How to Add Multiple Columns in Word

With the Newsletter template downloaded and open in Microsoft Word, let’s get to work. It’s time to learn how to create columns in Word. We’ll get started by working on a blank page inside the template. Think of this page as a clean slate. On it, you want to feature text in a column layout.

We'll start by constructing a basic two-column layout in MS Word. Place your cursor on the blank page. This tells Word that you're ready to edit and add style elements to the selected page. 

Now, you'll want to find the Layout tab in Word. This sits on the ribbon. If you're unfamiliar, the ribbon is the row of menus that sits on the upper left side of your Word screen. Find it by looking for the buttons labeled Home, Insert, Draw and more.

Here, click on Layout. The Layout tab is really the hub for your Word document's visual format. It controls how and where text and content fits onto the page.

With the Layout tab open, you'll see an array of options available to you. In this case, Columns is the button that you need. Click on it, and a popup menu appears.

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Add columns by going to the Layout tab and choosing the Columns dropdown.

On this menu, you'll have several choices for multi-column layouts in Word. Remember, here we want to add a simple two-column layout. Click on Two. Word instantly adds two columns to the selected page and all subsequent pages in your Word doc. 

Keep in mind, on a blank page you won't see anything happen. But once you start typing, you'll see that Word splits the text you type into a two-column layout. 

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Text will appear in your columns as you type in Microsoft Word.

As you imagine how to use Microsoft Word columns, remember that you're not limited to only two columns. In fact, Word offers you wide flexibility as you create your own column layouts. 

The best way to explore these features is to again start by working with a blank page in your Word document. Return to the Layout > Columns button and click on it. But this time, choose More Columns from the list of options displayed to you. 

When you click, Word opens the Columns menu. On it, you've got a full suite of customization options. 

At the top, you'll see Presets. These are defined layouts that you can apply with a single click. There are options for one, two, and three columns per page. 

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The More Columns menu in Word gives you full design and stylistic control over your column Word layouts.

Also, you can add left and right columns. As shown in the previews, these are two-column layouts with unique widths. The Left option adds a narrow left column and a wide right column. Choosing Right delivers the opposite result. 

Below, in the Manual group, you'll find that Word gives you full control over column layouts. Here, it's possible to set a custom number of columns to display on each page. For example, you can type 4 into the box, and Word adds four columns. The Line Between checkbox helps you add a visual delineation between each of the new columns. 

Here are other settings that help you harness complete control of creating columns in Word:

  • The Width and Spacing section controls the dimensions of each individual column.
  • At first, this section is grayed out, as Equal Column Width is automatically checked. To work with this group, uncheck the Equal Column Width box.
  • With the section active, you can adjust the dimensions and proportions of each column.
  • The Width boxes control the specific columns. The Spacing boxes control how far apart columns are from each other.
  • Finally, you've got the option to choose where to apply your column settings. Choose between the Whole Document and This Point Forward. The latter applies settings to your file only after the point where your cursor is placed. 

Once you've made your selections, click OK to apply the settings that you've chosen. Now, you're ready to start working with Microsoft Word columns.

From here, you can add text and other content just like you normally do in Microsoft Word. Start by typing in your own words. As words flow, you'll see that Word drops them neatly into place using the column layout that you've chosen. 

Similarly, other content that you add fits into the columns. For example, let's add an image. Place your cursor in a column spot where you want to place a photo. Find the Insert tab, and then click Pictures > Picture From File. Select a photo on your computer, and then click Insert. 

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You can add text, photos, and more to column Word layouts. (Image source: Envato Elements.)

Word inserts the photo, perfectly placed into your column. The width adjusts to fit neatly into the space that you've specified. This also works for charts, graphics, and more. When you design a column layout, Word's features place and scale content in the columns.

As you can see, it's easy to learn how to create a column in Word. With a few clicks, you can split the text into two or more columns on any page. From there, you can easily add text, photos, graphics, and more.

Word helps you size and scale all of your content into column format. This creates an attractive, engaging document for readers to enjoy. 

How to Add Columns from Existing Text in Word

We've learned how to create columns in Word. But as you saw in the above examples, we practiced using blank pages. What happens if you already have text on a page, and then decide that you want to put it in column format? 

Fortunately, Word has you covered. You can create column Word designs with text that you already have in place. There's no need to delete or retype anything! Let's learn how.

Imagine for a moment that you've got a page in your premium template with text on it. Now, you want to display the text in columns, rather than the single, full-page paragraphs that it's in now. 

To place this text in Microsoft Word columns, you'll first need to select the text. To do so, click and drag your cursor over the text that you want to move into columns. You'll see Word select it, signified by pale blue shading.

How to make columns in Microsoft WordHow to make columns in Microsoft WordHow to make columns in Microsoft Word
To convert existing text into columns, begin by selecting the text with your cursor.

Then, repeat the steps that we followed earlier to add columns. With the text still selected, find the Layout tab, and open the Columns drop-down. Choose the number of columns you want (or use the More Columns option, if you need to customize the design). 

How to create columns in Word from existing textHow to create columns in Word from existing textHow to create columns in Word from existing text
Word will split existing text into columns with the words selected.

Word adds the columns that you select. Your selected text will re-format, appearing in one or more of the new columns, depending on length. From here, you can make the same adjustments to column width and more, using the More Columns feature in MS Word. 

The Best Microsoft Word Templates for Column Designs (With Unlimited Downloads) 

You've learned how to create columns in Word. And you know that premium templates are the best way to get started. The best source for these is Envato Elements. 

Elements is a creative powerhouse with a winning offer: unlimited downloads. For a low, flat rate, you can download as many stunning premium MS Word templates as you want. With your membership, you also have access to fonts, stock photos, and so much more. 

Explore Microsoft Word Templates

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Envato Elements: thousands of templates, one low price.

When you choose a premium MS Word template from Envato Elements, you'll enjoy these key benefits:

  • Studio-quality layouts. Designs are built by creative experts. That means you'll gain the advantage of styles that you can't build by yourself. 
  • Time savings. With layouts already built, you're filling in the blanks. You get more time to focus on refining your written message. 
  • Inspired designs. Pre-built layouts help guide your creative process. You'll find plenty of inspiration on every page. 
  • Full creative control. When we learned how to make columns in Microsoft Word, we added our own designs to a premium template. You benefit from the styles already built but can still add your own design flourishes.

The value is impossible to match. Sign up for Elements today!

Now You Know How to Make Columns in Microsoft Word

Just like that, you've learned how to create a column in Word. It's a powerful stylistic tool that you can use in seconds! You can create more space for your content now that you know how to create a column in Word to do just that.

With multiple columns, you've got a new design dimension in Word documents. Try it out now to create a compelling, readable document. 

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