Updated November 2021
The columns tool is a feature of Google Docs that allows you to quickly and seamlessly alter the look of text in a document. This feature serves several functions that you’ll learn about below, along with the few steps you need to follow to do it yourself.
Formatting Text Into a Column
Here are the steps for formatting your desired text into columns.
Step One – Drafting and Highlighting
To format text into Google Docs columns, start by creating a new document from the Google Drive homepage and begin drafting your content in the document as you usually would.
Once you have your content drafted, you must decide what section of text you want to make a column for. If you highlight no text, then all the text in the document will be put into however many columns you make, so keep this in mind if you are trying to put a specific section of text into a column.
Step Two – How to Make Columns in Google Docs
The next step involved in putting Google Docs columns on part of page revolves around formatting.
After drafting your content and deciding what parts you want to put into a column, proceed to the toolbar at the top of the page where the functions are listed (not to be confused with the ‘Tools’ function). Click on the word ‘Format’ and go down to Columns.
Here you will see three unique column options. From left to right, the first option is for one column, the second is for two columns, and the third is for three columns.
By default, every Google Doc is set to one column, so when it comes to how to make two columns in Google Docs, simply click on the second option.
Similarly, for how to make three columns in Google Docs, click the third option.
Upon choosing two or three columns, you will see the text you selected in your Google Doc shift, and the spacing of the paragraphs will automatically adjust to match the new number of columns.
This automatic formatting is one of the significant upsides to creating columns on a Google Docs page, as you will not need to do any adjusting yourself to ensure the spacing on your paragraphs remains neat and clean.
Step Three – Further Options
In addition to the standard three options for creating columns in Google Docs, more extensive options give you the ability to further finetune your columns to your liking.
Follow the above steps to access the Columns option in the ‘Format’ tool to access these options. This time, instead of selecting one of the three standard column options, go to the ‘More options’ setting directly beneath them.
Clicking on ‘More options’ will bring up a new menu containing three settings that should be listed in the following order: Number of columns, Spacing (inches), and Line between columns.
Number of Columns
The ‘number of columns’ option is essentially the same option you are first presented with when selecting the Columns option from the ‘Format’ tool’s dropdown list. You can choose between one, two, and three columns, respectively.
The Spacing (inches) option allows you to manually adjust the number of inches (from right to left) between each column. 0.5 inches is the default setting, and Google Docs will reset to this each time you change the number of columns unless you manually set the spacing each time.
Line Between Columns
Selecting the Line between columns option will create a single line between each column, making it easier to distinguish one column from another at a glance. This feature does not affect the spacing between columns, as the lines stay set in a predetermined spot on the pages regardless of how far apart or close together each column is.
How to Make Two Columns of Bullets in Google Docs
To make two columns of bullets in Google Docs, follow the same above steps, but this time you must create the bullets before you carry out those steps.
To add bullets to a piece of text, go to the bulleted list option positioned on the right side of the Google Docs toolbar. The icon you are looking for will have three small dots sitting parallel to three small lines, and directly beside that is a small downwards facing arrow.
You can add the default bullets to a piece of highlighted text by clicking on the icon of the three small dots and three small lines, or you can click the arrow to bring down six more bullet options, as well as a checklist option.
After adding the bullets, follow the same three steps from above to create your two columns with whatever specific spacing you desire. Once again, you’ll find that there won’t be any need for manual formatting, as Google Docs will automatically account for the bullets and adjust the spacing of the columns accordingly to give the cleanest possible look.
How to Switch Between Columns in Google Docs
No matter how many columns you have, if you want to switch between them, you simply have to go to the Columns option and change to the number you want. You do not need to reset or delete any of your already drafted content.
Just remember that Google Docs will automatically reset the spacing of your columns to 0.5 inches, so you will need to set the spacing manually if you had it changed to something else.
How to Delete Columns in Google Docs
You cannot actually delete columns in Google Docs. By default, there is always one column, so if you created two or three columns and want to get rid of them, all you have to do is go to the columns option and choose one column.
Now you know how to create Google Docs columns, be it two or three columns, and how to combine columns with bullets seamlessly!
Regularly utilizing columns in your work can significantly help break up the monotony of reading lengthy walls of text with little to no visual variation, and improve your document workflow. Columns can also function as a great organizational tool if you have certain sections of text that you want to stand out without using bold, italics, or some other highlight form.
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