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Parallel columns differ from newspaper style columns in the way that they flow. Instead of falling down one column and up to the next, they flow across. So for example, if you have a list of some kind let's say an inventory of parts or ingredients one column might just be where the item number goes then in the middle column, maybe a description and that description could go down for multiple lines of text. And then maybe the third column would be a simple number. And although the middle column might span more than one line while the others do not, you still want all of the items to line up with one another without having to adjust the text yourself.
To achieve this style in Word, you'll actually use a table, a table with no visible lines. So let's do this. So first we're going to open up a document that's been started for you, you can click the Office button and then Open, navigating to the lesson 16 folder of your exercise files. You'll find inventory 16A, give it a click and click Open. So all we have here is a title. We'll click down below in here to get our cursor flashing below the title and that's where we want our three columns to go. We're actually to go up to the Insert tab up here on the ribbon and click Table and we want to the three columns, and we just need one row for now so give it a click.
Now by default, you can see we get a table with three equal columns, and we've got a a thin line going around the entire table and in between each column is well. So this is what we're going to adjust and we're going to start actually by just adjusting the size of our table and that would be the column widths. So we're going to slide our column markers up here on the ruler to make that first column, a little bit smaller, and to make the middle one a little bit wider, and I think we can make that right one a little bit smaller too, so we'll drag it in.
There. Drag this one in slightly too. Drag it in a little further until we get it lining up at the line underneath our title OK. Let's enter a little bit of text in here. I'm just type in a heading here "Item number". That's what's going to go in this column. Hit your Tab key, a description of that item goes here. Hit your Tab key to the next one and we'll put in quantity. Okay, when we hit Tab, we start a new row in our table and we covered this when we talked about working with tables in Microsoft Word.
I'm going to make up an item number, description. Now I'm going to make sure that this description is lengthy, long enough that it fills up more than one line of text. So "non- hydrogenated." See if that is spelled correctly in a second. Looks OK. "Made from" -let's make it- "100% canola " and we'll make it a 2 liter jug. OK.
Quantity, we'll put in 14. Right now if we hit Tab, of course we can continue on entering more rows of text, but now we have some of the contents in our table, lets make it look like parallel columns by taking away the border. So we'll select the entire table first, and we can do that quickly by clicking this little icon in the top left-hand corner just above item and to the left. See our entire table is now selected. Next will go up to our Borders button up here, we'll give it a click and we don't want any borders at all.
So we click No Border. Good. And now we can click after the 14 over here in this cell, although it doesn't look like a table anymore doesn't it? It just kind of looks like three columns. Alright, it's still a table. Let's hit the Tab key should have a new row and sure enough, it does but look at how far down it goes. It comes far enough down, it's not right underneath their previous item number so that what we type going across doesn't run into our previous text. So I'll put in 345-6.
We'll put in another description here. I'm in a type in "Enriched white flour, no preservatives" -that important these days- "or additives". We'll make that a 2 KG sack. Now when I hit Tab, you see that I move over to the next column but up, so I'm level with the top line of my description and here's right put in my number. OK.
So notice how our columns flow, left to right, and line up perfectly the matter how many lines of text are entered in any given column. So now you know!
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