How to create columns in Word in one click

Newspapers have generally multiple columns. Some brochures may be tabulated in multiple columns. It happens that wanting to emphasize a part of a text, we want to create two or more columns inside of a single-columned text. With Word 2013 and 2016, nothing is simpler. Take the following 5-paragraph text.

Simple Word Text

Creating columns quickly

If we want to display the second and third paragraphs as two columns, follow these two simple steps:

  1. Select the paragraphs you want in columns
  2. Go Layout, click the Column button and chose the number of columns you want.

Creating Two Columns

In the example above, I added two horizontal lines to separate visually the first and fourth paragraph from the two columns, by using the Borders button on the Home menu.

Colunms and sections

Creating columns with the Design menu actually creates sections. A section is started and ended by an invisible section break. This allows a different design to be applied. In our example, we end up with three sections:

  • The first section starts at the beginning of the document and contains the first paragraph
  • The second section contains the two paragraphs that form the two columns
  • The third section contains the last two paragraphs

Each section can have different column numbers, page size, margins, page numbers, etc. Sections offer a simple and convenient way to create complex documents in one single piece. With other word processor, you may need to create multiple documents, but Word is powerful enough, with sections, to allow multiple designs in a single document.

If you want to see section breaks, click on the Show/Hide button (a.k.a pilcrow) in the Home menu: . This will reveal all hidden marks like space, paragraphs and section marks. Those marks will not be printed, however, they allow to spot design mistakes. Note that paragraph and section breaks actually contains the design elements of the previous text. Deleting one of those marks will apply the design of the next mark.

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