How to Resize an MS Word Column


When you create columns in Microsoft Word, the two columns take equal amounts of space, with about one-half inch of space between them. You can easily change the respective widths of the columns by using the Columns dialog box or the controls on the horizontal ruler. When you have one solid block of text, the ruler simply measures the main body of the page. When you create two columns, the ruler splits into two segments, one for each column. The ruler space above each column appears in white, and the space between them appears in gray. In this way, the ruler clearly shows the size of each column.

Columns Dialog Box

  • Click the "Page Layout" tab.

  • Click the "Columns" icon. A menu will drop down; click "More Columns."

  • Type the desired column width, in inches, in the Width field under Width and Spacing. Or, use the up and down arrows next to the field to change the number. If you make the columns wider, the space between them will shrink. If you make the columns thinner, the space between them will expand. The margins will remain the same.

  • Uncheck "Equal column width" if you want the columns to have different sizes. You can now adjust each column's width individually. If you change just one column's width, the space or spaces between columns will increase or decrease; the other column or columns won't change width to take up extra space or to accommodate another column's growth. However, you can then change the other columns to fit with the first column's new width.

  • Click "OK" at the bottom of the dialog box once you have set the column widths to your preferred specifications.

Ruler Controls

  • Click the small vertical line on the right or left side of the gray space, on the ruler, that separates the columns.

  • Drag the line to the left or right to increase or decrease the space between the columns. If you increase the space, the columns will become smaller; if you decrease the space, the columns will grow larger.

  • Release the line when the columns reach the width you prefer.

Tips & Warnings

  • To make the columns wider by extending them further into the margins, you have to change the margins themselves. Click the "Margins" icon in the Page Setup group to see your options.

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  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/ Images
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