Sometimes, you might want to organize the text in your document in two columns. It is the standard format for many types of text. For example, newspapers, newsletters and brochures often use this format.
There are also other benefits of organizing your text in two columns. For instance, if you want to compare two pieces of text, you can put them in two columns. This would allow you to compare them side-by-side.
Another benefit is that it sometimes reduces the number of pages you are using. Hence, if you are printing the document, this will save you paper.
Google Docs allows you to organize your text in two columns in a few simple steps. In this article, we will be talking about two methods you can use to do this:
- Organizing your text in two columns by going to the Format menu
- Creating and formatting a table with two columns
Note that this article is beginner friendly. So, you can follow along even if you’ve never used Google Docs before.
With that introduction, let’s start.
Method 1: Organizing your text in two columns by going to the Format menu
The first method of creating two columns for your text is by going to the Format menu. The benefit of this method is that it is convenient. In a few simple steps, your text is automatically organized in two columns. This saves you the need to manually put your text in two columns.
You can also insert a vertical line between the columns to improve the readability of your text.
But if you want more flexibility with organizing your text, you can follow the next method.
Here are the steps for this method.
Step 1: Open your Google Docs document.
The first step is to open the Google Docs document with the text you want to organize. To do this, first go to the Google Docs homepage at docs.google.com. Then, click on an existing document of your choice under ‘Recent documents’.
Make sure that you are first signed into your Google account.
Alternatively, you can create a new document. If you want to create a blank document, just click on the plus sign at the top of the screen. You can also choose from one of the many existing templates for resumes, reports and class notes.
Step 2: Highlight the text you want to organize in two columns.
If you want to organize only a specific portion of the text in two columns, highlight it. Here’s an example of two columns of text in only one part of the document:
To do this, drag your cursor across the text. The highlighted text will be shown in blue, like this:
If you want your entire document to be split into two columns, you have to select the entire document. To do this, you can use the keyboard shortcut Control + A (or Command + A if you’re using a Mac). You can also just drag your pointer across the screen.
Step 3: Click on the ‘Format’ tab.
The ‘Format’ tab is located in the top left corner of the screen, next to the ‘Insert’ tab. Click on it to open the ‘Format’ drop-down menu.
Step 4: Click on or hover over the ‘Columns’ option.
Next, click on or hover over the ‘Columns’ option in the drop-down menu. This will open up another, smaller drop-down menu.
Step 5: Click on the two column option in the drop-down menu.
The new drop-down menu shows the three possible options for text columns. The second option is the two column option. Click on this to separate the text you highlighted into two columns.
(Optional) Step 6: Format your columns.
Google Docs gives you several options for formatting your columns. For example, you can insert a vertical line between your columns.
This makes your text easier to read as the columns are clearly separated. To insert this line, click on the ‘Format’ tab, then the ‘Columns’ option. Then, select ‘More options’ from the drop-down menu. This will open a new window. Here, check the ‘Line between columns’ option.
If you want to remove the line, repeat the same steps as above and uncheck the ‘Line between columns’ option.
You can also adjust the spacing between your columns from this window. The default spacing is 0.5 inches but you can change it to any number you want.
Once you are done changing the defaults, click on ‘Apply’ to reflect them in the document.
You can format other aspects of your text, like the font size and style, from the toolbar.
Changing your text back to a single column
To change your text back to a single column, select the text in the two columns. They will be highlighted in blue. Then, click on the ‘Format’ tab, then go to ‘Columns’. Click on the first option in the ‘Columns’ drop-down menu.
Method 2: Creating and formatting a table with two columns
This is another way of organizing your text in two columns in Google Docs. You can just create a table with two columns and put your text in these columns.
The benefit of this method is that it gives you more flexibility for organizing your text. For example, you can make the second column of text longer than the first one.
You can also format other aspects of the table. For example, you can change the thickness and colour of the table’s borders.
On the other hand, one drawback of this method is that it takes more effort. If you already have the text you want to put in the columns, you have copy/cut and paste it in the columns.
Below are the steps for this method.
Step 1: Click on the ‘Insert’ tab.
The ‘Insert’ tab is located in the top left corner of the screen. Click on it to open the ‘Insert’ drop-down menu.
Step 2: Click on or hover over the ‘Table’ option.
This is the second option in the ‘Insert’ drop-down menu. Click on it to open another drop-down menu.
Step 3: Create a table with two columns and one row.
From the ‘Table’ drop-down menu, click on the squares to create a table with two columns and one row. Here’s how to do this:
Step 4: Insert text in the columns.
The next step is to place your text in the columns. If you already have the text, simply copy/cut and paste it. To copy the text, press Control + C (or Command + C if you’re using a Mac). To cut the text, press Control + X (or Command + X). To paste it, press Control + P (or Command + P).
If you don’t already have the text, you can just type it in the columns.
(Optional) Step 5: Format your table.
If you want, you can format your table. One thing you can format is the borders.
To format the borders, first click on the text inside the table. This will open a new toolbar at the top of the screen. At the right-end corner of this toolbar, you’ll see the various options for formatting your border.
The first option allows you to change the background colour of the table. The second one changes the colour of your border. The third option is for adjusting the thickness of the border. The last one allows you to change the style of the border (e.g. solid or dotted line).
You can also remove one or more of the borders if you don’t want your text to have borders on all four sides. Just click on the border you want to remove, then change its colour to the background colour of your text. You can also remove the border by changing its thickness to 0.
Here’s an example:
Another way to remove borders is by clicking on the small arrow at the top right corner of the column.
You can also change the margins of the text. To do this, first make sure that the ruler is visible in your document. Go to the ‘View’ tab in the left corner of the screen, then click on ‘Show ruler’.
Then, change the position of the blue arrows on the ruler to change the vertical margins of your text. Here’s an example:
That brings us to the end of this article! Since we’ve covered a lot of ground, here’s a brief recap of what we have learned.
There are two methods you can follow to organize your text in two columns in Google Docs. The first method is to go to the ‘Format’ tab. Highlight the text you want to split, click on the ‘Format’ tab and from the drop-down menu, select ‘Columns’. Then, select the second option from the new menu.
For more formatting options, click on ‘More options.’
The second method is to create a table with two columns and one row. To do this, go to the ‘Insert’ tab, click on ‘Table’ then select the squares. Once you’ve created the table, insert text in the columns.
Thank you for reading!
Learn how to create two columns in MS Word.