Microsoft Word 2003 Miscellaneous

Separate Text into Columns

Summary: Step-by-step instructions for Microsoft Word 2003 users - place text inside columns.

There are many instances where it is necessary or useful to display text in your Microsoft Word 2003 document in columns, like a newspaper. Especially with lists of small items, columns let you display more information in a smaller amount of space. Here's how to format your text into columns.

1. First, enter the text you want displayed in columns.

2. Highlight the text with your mouse.

3. Select "Format" - "Columns".

4. Select or enter the number of columns you wish to use.

5. Underneath "Width and spacing" you can select how wide each column should be, plus the spacing between each column. Or, let Microsoft Word 2003 do this for you. Note that by unchecking "Equal column width", you can customize each column's individual spacing and width rather than apply the same constraints to each column.

6. Would you like lines separating your columns? If so, check "Line between".

7. Make sure that next to "Apply to" that "Selected Text" is displayed. If not, you might accidentally make the whole document appear in columns.

8. When you are done making your selections, click "OK" to close the dialog box. Your text will then be split into columns of equal size (or as close to equal size as possible).

If you don't like how the columns look, click "Undo" and start over.

One helpful tip: At least in some older versions of Microsoft Word, complex documents increase the chance that Microsoft Word will crash. For safety's sake, before separating text into columns, save your document. This way, if Microsoft Word 2003 crashes, you shouldn't lose all of your keyed information.

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Last Modified on: July 13, 2008, at 12:04 A.M. EDT

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