Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, and 2013. 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: Changing the Number of Columns in the Middle of a Document.

Changing the Number of Columns in the Middle of a Document

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated April 27, 2015)

For some document layouts, columns can be used to present your information clearly and concisely. What if you already have a document and you want to format only part of it in columns? As an example, 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. To accomplish this formatting challenge, you can follow these steps:

  1. Place the insertion point at the beginning of the text that will appear in the columns.
  2. Display the Page Layout tab of the ribbon.
  3. Click on the Breaks tool. Word displays a list of break types.
  4. Click on Continuous. Word inserts a continuous section break in your document.
  5. Place the insertion point at the end of the text that will appear in the columns.
  6. Repeat steps 2 through 4 to insert another continuous section break.
  7. Place the insertion point anywhere within the text that will appear in the columns.
  8. Click the Columns tool in the Page Setup group. Word displays a number of column options.
  9. Choose the option that indicates how many columns you desire.

That's it; the section between the two section breaks is formatted to use the number of columns you specified.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (9480) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Changing the Number of Columns in the Middle of a Document.

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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