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Word offers several ways to create documents with multi-column text. One way is to use the Columns feature. The Columns feature works with section breaks, when present, to set the number of columns in a section. By default every document has just one column of text, but you can set an entire document or any section of it to have multiple columns. We'll experiment with this document, which has the section breaks we inserted in the previous video. Here is one of them right here. The idea here is to start the document with one column of text, switch to two column text, and then finish up with one column text again.
The section break sets us up to do just that. Now we're going to start by positioning the insertion point anywhere after the first section break. So here is the first section break right here. If you can't see it in your document, remember to turn on the nonprinting characters and then you'll be able to see it. Then click in the document anywhere after that section. Now pull down the Columns menu in the Paragraph area of the Ribbon. That's right up here. We are in the Home Ribbon. From here we're going to choose Two. This will be the two columns at this insertion point.
The document immediately changes to form two columns of text. Now notice the first part of the document is one column. The next section of the document is two columns. If I scroll through it, it's two, two, two every page here. Then when I get to the end of the document where that last section break is, it goes back to one column. That's because when I made this change the insertion point was in one particular section of the document. That's that middle section. Now, I want to point out that if you look at this document in Draft View, let's do that, it won't appear with two columns.
Instead, there will be a wide column at the top, just look up there, there it is. There is our section break and then it's a narrow column and that goes down for most of the document. Then at the very end of the document where it's back to the last section, there is one column again and it's wide. This is because Draft View doesn't show multiple columns. For that reason you've probably want to most of your multi-column work in Print Layout View. So I'll switch back to that view. Now you can use the Columns dialog to set column options for multi-column text.
So let's go back near the beginning of the document where the insertion point is still in that second column. What I'm going to do is I'll pull-down the Format menu and choose Columns or what you can do is you can pull down this little Columns menu here and choose Columns. Either way it'll display the Columns dialog. You can use the Presets area to select one of several different preset column options. Every time I click one of the options you see how it changes in the Preview area. Left and Right have two different width columns.
You could see that right there. I'll stick to Two. If you want to change a number of columns, you can also change the column number in here. I can make it a number that's higher than what we've seen up here. For example, I can make it 5 columns if I want. They would be really skinny columns though. If you want to put a line between the columns, you could turn on this checkbox and it will put a vertical line between them. I am going to leave that turned off. The other thing you can do down here is change the Width of each column and the spacing. So I have got two columns. I can change the width of each one and I could change the spacing between the first and the second.
So I'll change the spacing. I want it to be a quarter inch. So I'll type in 0.25. You could see that picture right here changes as well. That also changes the column widths. It changed in the same amount, because the Equal column width checkbox is turned on. If I wanted them to be different widths, I'd have turn that off and then I could make one column different than the other. You could see again in the Preview area how they change. I'm going to turn that back on, go back to Two columns and make it a quarter inch in-between. That's the way I want it.
Now the Apply to menu lets you specify how your settings should be used. In my case I want them to apply to the whole section. So I won't change this setting, but I do have other options. This point forward would insert a section break at the insertion point and apply my settings for the new section. So I'd basically be adding another section to the document. Whole document would apply my settings to the entire document. Now, I don't want to do either one. I want to just to apply to this section. So I'll leave that set the way it is.
So all I've really done here is change the spacing between columns. Let's click OK and we'll see that in the document. I don't know if you notice, but this column here shifted over a little bit and this column here got a little bit wider. Now there is another way to do this. Suppose I decide that I want everything under the level 1 heading Manufactured Products to be three columns. So let me scroll down to find that. There it is, Manufactured Products. Suppose I want everything under this heading to be three columns. I can click at the beginning of that.
I could Shift+Click at the end, so that will give all that content under that level 1 heading. So it includes some level 2 headings. So I have selected that information. I can pull down this menu and I can choose Three. Now, Word does a bunch of things here. The first thing it does is that it inserts another section break here and it also inserts another section break here at the end. Then it formats this new section that it created with three columns. So that's another way you can do this in your document. If you want to create multi-column text on the fly, you would select the text first and then apply the columns setting that you like and let Word put in the section breaks.
The end result in this document is now we have five sections, and we'll go through them real quick. We got the single column section in the beginning, then a section break, we've got the two columns section, a section break, a three columns section, a section break, another two column section, and down near the end here we've got another section break, and then the final section. So that's five sections. Now as you can imagine this can get pretty confusing. It's especially confusing when you start to change your mind and go back to the way things were.
The best way to do this is to delete the extra section breaks. Now although I can use the Undo command now, suppose I don't change my mind right away and the Undo command isn't available. Let's delete some of the section breaks to see what happens. So let's go over here. I'm going to go up to the beginning. I'm going to go up here, I'm going to select the first section break right before the three columns section, and I'll delete that. So I'm going to select this section break. It might be a little bit easier to do it in Draft mode. Let's see if I've selected it properly. I'll press Delete and what happens is the entire document goes to three columns.
The reason this happens is that the column settings are stored in a section break. I deleted the section breaks with the two column settings. I didn't delete the one with three. So what I need to do is go down here to the next section break, which is right here, just about select it and press Delete again and now I've deleted the section break with the three column settings and we're going back to two columns. Now if this gets really confusing and you need to start all over, just delete all the section breaks and redo it from scratch. That's probably the best way to do it.
There is one more thing I want to mention here. Sometimes you want to break a column at a specific point. For example, on the second page, let's go back to that page. This is the first page. Here is the second page. Maybe I want to break the column, in the words end this column right before Manufactured Products, so this appears at the top of another column. I can position the insertion point in front of that. I go up to Layout Ribbon and under Break I could choose a Column break. That's the only break we haven't really talked about.
When I insert that break it puts in the column break and what that does is the column break right here, it pushes that text to the top of the next column. So that's how you can force a column break, how you can force text to appear at the top of the next column. So as we've seen here you can use section breaks to apply multi-column formatting in specific sections of a document. The Columns dialog gives you ability to set column formatting options the way you need to.
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