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


2

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Locked File Puzzle

What would you do if every time you opened a workbook Excel told you it was locked? Here's how you can try to recover ...

Discover More

Dynamic Worksheet Tab Names

Need a worksheet's name to change based on the contents of a cell? You'll need to rely on a macro to do the changing, but ...

Discover More

Self-Adjusting Column Widths

It is important to understand how column widths relate to the margins you may have set in your document. The reason is ...

Discover More

Learning Made Easy! Quickly teach yourself how to format, publish, and share your content using Word 2013. With Step by Step, you set the pace, building and practicing the skills you need, just when you need them! Check out Microsoft Word 2013 Step by Step today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Using Parallel Columns

Users of WordPerfect know what parallel columns are. There is no such capability in Word, but there are ways you can ...

Discover More

Changing the Number of Columns in the Middle of a Document

Need to have multiple columns in a page layout that normally consists of a single column? You can change the column ...

Discover More

Changing the Number of Columns

If you need to change the number of columns used in a portion of your document, it's easy to do when you use the Columns ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is seven 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.


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the ribbon interface (Word 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Videos
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.