How to Add Columns in Microsoft Word: A Step-by-Step Guide

Adding columns in Microsoft Word is a straightforward task that can enhance the layout of your document. Simply go to the ‘Layout’ tab, click on the ‘Columns’ button, and choose the number of columns you want. Whether you’re creating a newsletter, a brochure, or just want to give your document a more polished look, adding columns can be a great way to organize your content.

After adding columns to your document, your text will flow from one column to another, filling the page in a more visually appealing way. This can help guide the reader’s eye and make your document easier to navigate.


When it comes to organizing and presenting information in a readable format, columns can be a powerful tool. In printed media like newspapers and magazines, columns have long been used to create a clean, professional layout. But what about when you’re working in Microsoft Word? Can you achieve the same level of polish and readability? Absolutely! Whether you’re a student, a professional, or just someone who likes to keep their documents looking sharp, adding columns to your Microsoft Word document is a useful skill to have.

It’s not just about making your work look good, though. Columns can help you manage space more efficiently, ensure a better flow of text, and even emphasize certain parts of your content. And let’s not forget how they can make complex information easier to digest. So, if you’re ready to give your documents a little extra edge, let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of how to add columns in Microsoft Word.

Step-by-step tutorial: How to Add Columns in Microsoft Word

The following steps will guide you through adding columns to a Microsoft Word document.

Step 1: Open the Layout Tab

Navigate to the ‘Layout’ tab in the ribbon at the top of the Word window.

This tab contains various options for changing the layout of your document, including margins, orientation, and columns.

Step 2: Click on Columns

Within the ‘Layout’ tab, find and click on the ‘Columns’ button.

A dropdown menu will appear, showing different options for the number of columns as well as a ‘More Columns…’ option for further customization.

Step 3: Select the Number of Columns

Choose the desired number of columns from the dropdown menu.

You can select preset options such as one, two, or three columns, or click ‘More Columns…’ to access additional settings like column width and spacing.

Step 4: Customize Columns (Optional)

If you clicked ‘More Columns…’, a dialog box will open where you can customize your columns further.

Here, you can adjust the width and spacing of each column, decide if you want a line between columns, and apply these settings to a part of the document or to the whole document.


Improved ReadabilityAdding columns can make your document easier to read, especially if it’s text-heavy. It helps to break down the information into manageable chunks, leading to a better reading experience.
Professional AppearanceDocuments with columns often look more polished and professional. It’s a simple touch that can make a big difference in how your work is perceived.
Efficient Space ManagementColumns help to use the available space more efficiently. This is particularly useful for layouts that include images or sidebars alongside text.


Limited FlexibilityOnce you set up columns, it can be tricky to insert elements that span multiple columns, like large images or charts.
Text Flow ChallengesSometimes, getting text to flow the way you want from one column to another can be difficult, especially with complex layouts.
Potential Format IssuesIf you’re not careful, changing to a column layout can mess up existing formatting, such as bullet points or numbering.

Additional Information

While adding columns in Microsoft Word is relatively simple, there are a few additional things to keep in mind to ensure your document looks its best. For instance, consider the length of your text; shorter paragraphs usually work better in a column layout than longer ones. Also, be aware of how images or other graphics will interact with your text once it’s divided into columns. Will they disrupt the flow, or can they be integrated smoothly?

Another tip is to use section breaks if you want to switch between different numbers of columns within the same document. This can be very handy for creating a more dynamic layout or when certain sections of your text require a different format.

Remember, while columns are a great way to enhance the layout of your document, they are not always the best choice for every type of content. Use your judgment and consider your audience and the purpose of the document when deciding whether to add columns.


  1. Open the Layout Tab
  2. Click on Columns
  3. Select the Number of Columns
  4. Customize Columns (Optional)

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I have different column layouts on the same page?

Yes, you can use section breaks to divide your page into sections with different column layouts.

Is it possible to adjust the width of individual columns?

Yes, by choosing ‘More Columns…’ you can set specific widths for each column.

What should I do if text doesn’t flow correctly between columns?

You can adjust the column breaks manually, or tweak the spacing and width of the columns to improve the flow.

Can I add columns to only part of my document?

Absolutely! Highlight the text you want to format, and then apply the column setting only to that selection.

How do I remove columns from my document?

Go back to the ‘Columns’ button and select ‘One’ to revert to a single-column layout, or use the ‘Undo’ function.


Adding columns in Microsoft Word can transform a bland document into a professional and polished masterpiece. It’s a simple process that can significantly improve readability and make your content more engaging.

Just remember, like any design choice, it should be used thoughtfully and in a way that enhances your message. So go ahead, give it a try, and watch your documents come to life with the addition of well-structured columns!