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Microsoft Publisher 2003

Working with Columns

Publications such as newsletters and brochures often require the use of columns. You can create columns manually by setting the width of your text box, but this process is easier if you create columns within your text box. As you create columns with Publisher, a set of guides (like the page margins) are added to the text box.

return to topCreating Columns

Placing text into columns is one text layout option. Columns help to shorten the text line for your readers while also giving your publication a more professional look. Columns are made by creating multiple text boxes. Layout guides will help you determine the width and placement of your text boxes; this particular method allows you to violate the column layout if desired (e.g., for headlines).

Creating Columns: Using Layout Guides

Using Layout Guides to create columns will assure you of uniformly sized (width) and evenly spaced columns of text. First, establish the layout guides; then, create the text boxes. For more information on using Layout Guides, refer to Creating a Layout Grid.

  1. From the Arrange menu, select Layout Guides...
    The Layout Guides dialog box appears.
    Layout Guides dialog box

  2. From the Grid Guides tab, in the Columns text box, type the desired number of columns

  3. OPTIONAL: To view center guides (appearing as red dashed lines), select Add center guide between columns and rows

  4. Click OK

  5. Using the Text Box tool, draw the text boxes needed
    NOTE: For more information on creating text boxes and adding text, refer to Working with Text.
    HINT: To obtain text boxes equal in width to the columns you have established, trace along the Layout Guides.

  6. Add text to the text boxes

To extend text across column boundaries:

Occasionally, you may need to extend text across two or more columns. For example, an article may be placed on a three-column page, but the title needs to extend across all three columns.

  1. With the Select Objects toolSelect Objects tool, select the text box
    Notice the handles at the borders of the text box.

  2. Position the tip of the pointer on the text box handlePointer ready to resize text box
    The pointer turns into a double-headed arrow.

  3. Drag the handle to the desired position
    HINT: Use the Layout Guides to determine how many/which columns to span.

  4. Release the mouse button

Creating Columns: Using the Columns Dialog Box

When you first create your text box, the default is one column per text box. Publisher provides the option of creating up to 63 columns per text box. Between each column is a gutter, which adds whitespace between each column so that one column of text is not right on top of the next. If you are using columns for a brochure, these gutters should be larger in order to add extra folding space. Text within a text box divided into columns must follow the column layout.

  1. Select the text box to which you want to add columns

  2. From the Format menu, select Text Box...
    The Format Text Box dialog box appears.

  3. Select the Text Box tab

  4. Click COLUMNS...
    The Columns dialog box appears.
    Columns dialog box

  5. In the Number text box, type the desired number of columns for the text box

  6. In the Spacing text box, use the arrow buttons to adjust the space between columns

  7. Click OK

  8. Click OK

return to topBalancing Columns

To make your publication look more polished, you may want to balance the columns. Automatic column balancing is not a feature in Publisher; however, it can be done manually. Below is an example of unbalanced and balanced columns.

example unbalanced columns Example balanced columns

Balancing Columns: One Text Box

  1. Select the text box

  2. Shrink the text box by clicking and dragging the center sizing handle upward

  3. Release the mouse button
    Text flows from column to column.

  4. Repeat steps 2 & 3 until the columns are balanced
    NOTE: For more information on resizing text boxes, refer to Working with Text Boxes.

Balancing Columns: Multiple Linked Text Boxes

As you adjust the length of columns, no text is being removed or lost. Instead, the dimensions of the text box are being changed. For more information on linked text boxes, refer to Working with Linked Text Boxes.

  1. Position the tip of the pointer on the text box handlePointer ready to resize text box
    The pointer turns into a double-headed arrow.

  2. Click and hold the mouse button

  3. Drag the handle up or down to shorten or lengthen the text column

  4. Release the mouse button
    The text repositions itself.

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