Word for Mac 2011 Essential Training
Illustration by Richard Downs

Setting multiple columns


Word for Mac 2011 Essential Training

with Maria Langer

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Video: Setting multiple columns

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.
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  1. 5m 6s
    1. Welcome
      1m 8s
    2. Word processing basics
      3m 9s
    3. Using the exercise files
  2. 21m 53s
    1. Menus, shortcut keys, and toolbars
      3m 43s
    2. The Ribbon
      2m 32s
    3. The Toolbox and the Media Browser
      2m 27s
    4. The Sidebar
      1m 42s
    5. Document views
      5m 24s
    6. Navigating windows and documents
      6m 5s
  3. 13m 40s
    1. Using the Document Gallery
      4m 51s
    2. Creating documents
      1m 51s
    3. Opening, saving, and closing documents
      6m 58s
  4. 14m 20s
    1. Entering text
      5m 33s
    2. Inserting and deleting text
      2m 34s
    3. Using Click and Type to enter text
      3m 26s
    4. Inserting symbols and special characters
      2m 47s
  5. 27m 28s
    1. Selecting and editing text
      6m 34s
    2. Copying and moving text
      7m 1s
    3. Using the Scrapbook
      4m 38s
    4. Undoing, redoing, and repeating actions
      4m 36s
    5. Finding and replacing text
      4m 39s
  6. 24m 50s
    1. Font formatting basics
      9m 0s
    2. Applying font formatting
      7m 12s
    3. Using the Font dialog
      4m 35s
    4. Formatting with the Find and Replace dialog
      4m 3s
  7. 27m 18s
    1. Paragraph formatting basics
      9m 39s
    2. Setting justification and line spacing
      2m 17s
    3. Indenting paragraphs
      4m 37s
    4. Using list formats
      5m 41s
    5. Setting paragraph formatting options
      5m 4s
  8. 14m 33s
    1. Understanding tab tables
      4m 15s
    2. Creating a tab table with the Ruler
      5m 20s
    3. Creating a tab table with the Tabs dialog
      4m 58s
  9. 20m 31s
    1. Understanding styles and themes
      2m 36s
    2. Applying styles
      6m 32s
    3. Reformatting with Quick Style sets and themes
      2m 37s
    4. Modifying styles
      4m 28s
    5. Creating and deleting styles
      4m 18s
  10. 13m 22s
    1. Revealing formatting
      4m 24s
    2. Using the Format Painter
      1m 38s
    3. Creating drop caps
      3m 34s
    4. Using AutoFormat on text
      3m 46s
  11. 27m 29s
    1. Setting margins
      4m 3s
    2. Adding page and section breaks
      4m 54s
    3. Setting multiple columns
      8m 11s
    4. Varying page orientation within a document
      2m 43s
    5. Inserting page numbers
      2m 47s
    6. Adding watermarks and background images
      4m 51s
  12. 13m 39s
    1. Using built-in headers and footers
      5m 34s
    2. Manually creating headers and footers
      4m 0s
    3. Setting multiple headers and footers in a document
      4m 5s
  13. 18m 54s
    1. Creating a cell table
      3m 42s
    2. Entering and formatting table text
      4m 16s
    3. Modifying table structure
      5m 34s
    4. Using table styles
      2m 49s
    5. Converting between tab and cell tables
      2m 33s
  14. 18m 12s
    1. Adding borders to text and paragraphs
      5m 38s
    2. Adding borders to table cells
      3m 47s
    3. Setting page borders
      4m 13s
    4. Applying shading
      4m 34s
  15. 16m 56s
    1. Using the Media Browser to insert media
      3m 24s
    2. Inserting media from a file
      2m 36s
    3. Formatting images
      4m 30s
    4. Wrapping text around an image
      2m 27s
    5. Inserting and formatting a text box
      3m 59s
  16. 13m 17s
    1. Using AutoCorrect and AutoFormat As You Type
      9m 26s
    2. Using AutoText and AutoComplete
      3m 51s
  17. 17m 28s
    1. Building an outline
      4m 26s
    2. Rearranging outline components
      3m 39s
    3. Viewing outlines
      4m 9s
    4. Numbering outline headings
      5m 14s
  18. 26m 49s
    1. Checking spelling and grammar
      8m 19s
    2. Using reference tools
      4m 30s
    3. Inserting footnotes and endnotes
      6m 27s
    4. Using the Word Count feature
      2m 49s
    5. Compiling a table of contents
      4m 44s
  19. 17m 44s
    1. Adding comments
      2m 46s
    2. Tracking changes
      7m 45s
    3. Merging and comparing documents
      4m 28s
    4. Sharing documents with others
      2m 45s
  20. 18m 54s
    1. Using letter templates
      8m 5s
    2. Creating envelopes
      6m 23s
    3. Creating labels
      4m 26s
  21. 12m 36s
    1. Setting Document Security options
      9m 0s
    2. Using Privacy options
      3m 36s
  22. 14m 31s
    1. Setting Page Setup Options
      4m 12s
    2. Previewing a document
      2m 13s
    3. Printing to a printer
      4m 11s
    4. Printing to PDF
      3m 55s
  23. 11m 9s
    1. Using Word's Macro Recorder
      9m 18s
    2. Understanding macro security
      1m 51s
  24. 12m 28s
    1. Customizing toolbars and menus
      6m 0s
    2. Customizing Word's shortcut keys
      3m 38s
    3. Customizing the Ribbon
      2m 50s
  25. 42s
    1. Goodbye

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Watch the Online Video Course Word for Mac 2011 Essential Training
7h 3m Beginner Oct 28, 2010

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In Word for Mac 2011 Essential Training, author Maria Langer shows how to create, format, and print a wide variety of documents in Microsoft Word 2011. The course covers building outlines, formatting text and pages, working with headers and footers, using themes and styles, adding multimedia, and more. It also shows how to customize and automate Word 2011, including how to record macros. Exercise files accompany the course.

Topics include:
  • Navigating the interface
  • Using the Document Gallery
  • Inserting, deleting, moving, and copying text
  • Finding and replacing text
  • Undoing and repeating actions
  • Setting paragraph alignment, line spacing, and indentation
  • Working with cell and tab tables
  • Applying styles and themes
  • Adding headers and footers
  • Inserting images in a document
  • Building outlines
  • Tracking changes
  • Printing documents, envelopes, and labels
Office Word Word for Mac Office for Mac
Maria Langer

Setting multiple columns

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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