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Before Word 2010, laying out your page content in columns required you to insert section breaks before and after the content and jump through a few hoops. Now it's going to be easier, but here are few obscure tips and tricks to customize your columns even further and give you complete control over them. Press your Page Down key twice to go to your second page. Highlight the content in Page 2, up to, but not including the word Sincerely. Go to the Page Layout Ribbon and click on the Columns button.
Choose the number of columns you want, Two or Three. You also have options for a Left sidebar or a Right sidebar. I'll go ahead and choose Two. If you don't already have your Show/Hide paragraph buttons on, go back to the Home Ribbon and turn them on. When they are on, you can see at the bottom of the column, a double-dotted line and if you scroll up to the top, you can see another double-dotted line. This time there's enough room to see what it is. It's a Section Break (Continuous). A Continuous Section Break allows you to change the formatting before the line and after the line all on the same page.
Now when I look down at the bottom, I might think that sincerely is too close to my text, in which case, I'll click before the S, go back to the Page Layout Ribbon and increase the paragraph's Spacing Before. I think 24 point looks pretty good. If you decide that this really should be one column, you can go ahead and highlight the text again. This time, I actually want to include the line above and below and I'll go back to the Columns button and click on One. Choosing One Column returns your column formatted text straight across the page again.
I notice that I still see my section breaks above and below. These section breaks can be deleted just like they were the letter A, click right before it, hit Delete and click before the one at the bottom and hit Delete again. If you see any more pop up, try it again. Now let's do this again a slightly different way. Highlight that same middle text, go to the Columns button. This time, go down to More Columns at the bottom.
Across the top, we see the scene presets we saw before and again we're going to choose Two. You can also specify your number of columns by increasing and decreasing these arrows right here or typing the number in place. I'm going to leave this at 2. You can have any number of columns you want up to 13. Width and Spacing allows you to manually specify how wide each column is and the size of the gap between them. When you change one of them, the other one will change as well. So I'll type in 3.25 and hit Tab.
Now unfortunately, because of the width in my document 3.25 puts zero space between my columns, so that's not going to work, I'm going to put this back to 3. There is a checkbox underneath for Equal column width. If I uncheck this box, my columns can be any Width and Spacing and they work independently. Although notice, that as I change one, the other ones will still adjust, that way you can't make your columns wider than your margins. I'll go ahead and put Equal column width back into place.
On the right side of the window is a checkmark for Line between. This place is a vertical line between the columns. This helps make a great sidebar. And at the bottom is a dropdown to apply these column settings either to the text that you selected before you went into the dialog box or the entire document. If your document was set up with sections, you could also apply it to an entire section as well. I'll leave this on Selected text and click OK. Now I have two perfectly formatted columns.
There is even more we can do with column layouts. Let's go to Page 15. I'm going to use the trick of Go To by clicking on the page number down here, typing in 15 and hitting Enter. I'll close this box. Let's scroll down to the bottom of the page and in the section about Substance Abuse part of it is set in two columns. But if I look down at the bottom, illegal drug is orphaned down at the bottom of this column, while its content starts in column 2. So I'm going to click right before the I in illegal drug and now I'm on the Page Layout tab and I'm going to click on the Breaks button on the Ribbon and I'm going to insert a Column Break.
This inserted an invisible dotted line and says Column Break and sure enough illegal drug has jumped to the top of the next column. My last demonstration is at the bottom of the document. Do the keyboard Command, Ctrl+End to jump to the very, very end of the document. Here my Department Hierarchy is set in two columns, but one goes down to the bottom of the page and the second column only has one item in it. I could manually eyeball this and insert a Column Break just like I did before, but even better than that, click at the very end of the content that you want to appear in your columns, click back on the Breaks button in the Ribbon again and insert a Continuous Section Break.
All your columns will now be within one line of each other in length. This is a very obscure technique, but it's one that I use all the time. Using these techniques allows you to take control of Word's columns and the Column Breaks to allow you to lay them out exactly how you want them to look.
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