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: Quickly Changing Columns.

Quickly Changing Columns

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated February 12, 2024)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365


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Word provides a tool on the Page Layout (Layout if you are using Word 2106 or a later version) tab of the ribbon that you can use to modify the number of columns in your document or in a text selection. If you click on the Columns tool (which is in the Page Setup group) Word shows a list of six options:

  • One. Use a single column.
  • Two. Use two equal-width columns.
  • Three. Use three equal-width columns.
  • Left. Use two columns, where the left column is narrower than the right column.
  • Right. Use two columns, where the right column is narrower than the left column.
  • More Columns. Display the Columns dialog box so you can set up the columns as you desire.

To use the Columns tool, simply choose one of the options. If you have a text selection selected prior to using the tool, then the choice you make is applied only to that selected text. If you don't have any text selected, then the entire section in which the insertion pointer is located is formatted using the number of columns you chose.

If you don't like the results of the layout change, you can immediately press Ctrl+Z to undo the formatting change.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (7914) 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: Quickly Changing Columns.

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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What is two minus 1?

2019-08-16 16:50:53

Tony

(Layout if you are using Word 2106 or a later version)

That version of Word sounds advanced.


2019-08-13 05:01:10

Salim

Why does Word put Continuous Section break whenever I convert part of my text into columns. This makes it harder for me to format my document especially when I have multiple columns in there.


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