Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Mixing Column Formats On a Page.

Mixing Column Formats On a Page

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated December 11, 2021)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365


It is not uncommon to have a document that mixes different column layouts on a single page. For instance, let's assume you have a five-page document, and you want to format the center part of page two as three columns. You want the rest of the document to remain a single column.

Overcoming this formatting challenge is easy when you use the tools available on the ribbon. Follow these steps:

  1. Select the text that will appear in the columns.
  2. Choose the Layout (or Page Layout) tab of the ribbon.
  3. In the Page Setup group, click the Columns drop-down list.
  4. Pick the number of columns you want to use for the selected text.

That's it; Word does the rest and formats the selected text into the number of columns you specified. It does this by automatically placing continuous section breaks both before and after the text you selected in step 1 and then formatting the text into the number of columns you selected in step 4. While you can do those steps yourself, manually, it is easier to allow Word to do it for you.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (110) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Mixing Column Formats On a Page.

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. ...

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