If you’re writing a document in Google Docs, adding columns can be a great way to give some structure to your text and make it more interesting and easy to understand. So in this article, that’s what I’m going to show you how to do.
Prefer to watch a video about how to use columns in Google Docs? Click here.
How To Create Columns In Google Docs
To create columns in Google Docs, it’s best if you type the bulk of your text first. Obviously, you will still be able to edit the text and make changes after you’ve put it into columns, but it’s just best if you type most of the text in advance so that you can see what you’re doing.
Now, you’ll need to highlight the section of text that you want to put into columns.
So if you want the entire document to be split into two or three columns, you can highlight the entire document, but if you only want a few paragraphs to be in columns and the rest of the text to be normal, you’ll just need to highlight those few paragraphs.
Now that you’ve highlighted the text that you want to make into columns, simply click “Format” in the menu across the top of the screen…
And then, in the menu that appears, hover over “Columns”.
Now, in the smaller menu that appears, you’ll be able to choose to split your text into either two or three different columns, and you can do that if you want…
But, I would recommend clicking “More options” because it gives you better control over how the columns are going to look.
Now, assuming you clicked “More options”, a box will appear on the screen giving you several different column options.
The first thing you’ll need to do in this box is set the number of columns you want to split the text into by clicking on the drop-down menu next to where it says “Number of columns”…
And then choosing either 2 or 3 (this is completely up to you, but I’m going to choose 3 for this demonstration).
And now, if you want, you can adjust the spacing between the columns. By default, it’s set to half an inch which is usually about right, but if you wanted to have slightly more or less space, you could do that by changing this number.
And now last but not least, you can also choose whether or not you want to have a line between each column to separate them. This is completely up to you as well, but I quite like to have a line because it makes it clear to people that these are different columns, so I’m going to tick this box.
Now, once you’re happy with all the options you’ve chosen, you can go ahead and click “Apply” to create your columns.
Now, your highlighted text will be split into two or three separate columns.
And that’s pretty much all there is to it! You have your separate columns!
How To Move Text Between Columns
Just to make things a bit confusing, depending on the text you highlighted and the number of columns you created, it might do a very good job of separating your text into the different columns like it’s done in this example.
But sometimes it will split up your text in not quite the right way, or it will possibly even just scrunch up all your text into column one which wouldn’t be very good.
But, don’t worry, you can quite easily fix all this now by adding column breaks. To do that, just put your cursor in between where you want the first column to end and the second column to start.
So in this example, I only want the first paragraph of column one to stay in column one, and I want the second paragraph to move to column two, so I’ll put my cursor at the start of the second paragraph…
And then, click on “Insert” in the menu across the top of the screen…
And then, in the menu that appears, hover over “Break”…
And finally, in the smaller menu that appears next to that, click “Column break”.
Now, everything above where your cursor was placed will be in column one, and everything below it will be in column two.
And, if that’s what you wanted, you’re now done!
But, if you have a third column like I do, you’ll obviously want some text to go into the third column, so you’ll just need to repeat the process again.
Simply place your cursor in between where you want column two to end and column three to begin…
Then, click on “Insert”…
And in the menu that appears, hover over “Break”.
And click “Column break”.
Now, your columns will be separated just the way you want them!
And that’s all there is to it! Now, the section of text that you selected has been separated into two or three perfect columns, and the rest of the text in the document has remained as normal.
And if you want to add another section of columns somewhere else in the document, you can do that by simply highlighting that text and doing this process all over again.
How To Remove Columns In Google Docs
Now that you know how to add columns in Google Docs, there may also come a time when you need to remove columns from a Google Doc. Fortunately, this is easy.
Just highlight all the text that’s in all the columns…
And then, click on “Format” in the menu across the top of the screen…
And in the menu that appears, hover over “Columns”…
And then, in the smaller menu that appears next to that, you’ll get three different column options.
So now, if you had three columns and you wanted to reduce it to two, you could select the option with two columns and then one of the columns would be removed and all the text would be moved into two columns.
Or, if you want to remove the columns entirely and just have all the text be normal again, you can select the one column option…
And then, the columns will disappear completely and all the text will go back to normal (sort of).
But, if you added column breaks to the columns, the column breaks will now be acting as page breaks, so you’ll probably want to delete those breaks to keep all the text on the same page.
To do this, just insert your cursor after the break which will be below all the text that was in column one…
And then, just press the backspace key on your keyboard to delete it, and the text from column two will jump back up onto the same page. And then you’ll just need to do that again if you had three columns, and now your document will be completely back to normal.
And that’s all there is to using columns in Google Docs!