How to Change Column Width in Word: A Step-by-Step Guide

Changing the column width in Microsoft Word is a simple task that can greatly improve the readability and organization of your document. Whether you’re working on a newsletter, a resume, or a report, adjusting the column width can help you optimize the use of space and make your text more visually appealing. In just a few clicks, you can customize the width of your columns to fit your specific needs.

Step by Step Tutorial: How to Change Column Width in Word

Before diving into the steps, it’s important to understand that changing the column width can help you fit more content on a page or create a more balanced layout. Here’s how to do it:

Step 1: Open the Layout Tab

Click on the "Layout" tab in the Word ribbon.

This tab is where you’ll find all the options for adjusting the layout of your document, including columns.

Step 2: Select Columns

Click on "Columns" in the Page Setup group, then select "More Columns."

A new window will pop up with various options for customizing your columns.

Step 3: Adjust the Width

In the "Width and Spacing" section, you can change the width of your columns by entering a new value in the "Width" box.

You can also adjust the spacing between columns by changing the value in the "Spacing" box.

Step 4: Apply to Whole Document or Section

Choose whether to apply these changes to the whole document or just a specific section.

If you only want to change the column width in a particular section, make sure you have that section selected before making adjustments.

Step 5: Click OK

Once you’re happy with the new column width, click "OK" to apply the changes.

Your document will now reflect the new column widths and spacing.

After you complete the action, your document will immediately show the updated column widths. If you’re not satisfied with how it looks, you can always go back and tweak the settings until you get the desired result. Remember that changing column widths can impact the overall layout, so it may take a few tries to get it just right.

Tips for Changing Column Width in Word

  • Ensure your text is evenly distributed across columns for a balanced look.
  • Use the "Preview" feature in the "More Columns" window to see how changes will look before applying them.
  • If you’re working with multiple sections, adjust column widths section by section to maintain consistency.
  • Consider the content and purpose of your document when deciding on column width – wider columns for easier reading, narrower for more text.
  • Remember that changing the column width will affect the entire column, so adjust accordingly if you have images or other elements within the columns.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I change the column width for just one part of my document?

To change the column width in just one part of your document, select the specific text or section before adjusting the column width settings.

Can I have different column widths on the same page?

Yes, you can have different column widths on the same page by creating section breaks and adjusting the columns within each section separately.

Will changing the column width affect my document’s formatting?

Changing the column width can affect the formatting of your document, so it’s important to review your document after making changes to ensure everything still looks as intended.

Can I save my custom column width settings for future use?

While Word doesn’t allow you to save custom column width settings, you can create a template with your preferred settings and use that as a starting point for future documents.

Is there a limit to how narrow or wide I can make my columns?

There is no set limit, but extremely narrow or wide columns might be difficult to read or fit on the page. Use your best judgment based on the content and design of your document.


  1. Open the Layout Tab
  2. Select Columns
  3. Adjust the Width
  4. Apply to Whole Document or Section
  5. Click OK


Changing column width in Word is a nifty trick that can significantly enhance the visual aspect of your documents. It’s not just about making things look pretty; it’s about effective communication. The width of your columns can impact how easily your readers can absorb the information you’re presenting. So, take the time to experiment with different widths and find the sweet spot that works for your particular project.

Remember, the key is to strike a balance. You don’t want columns so wide that your readers lose their place, or so narrow that they’re constantly flipping back and forth between lines. Think about the rhythm of your text and how the width of your columns can help or hinder that flow.

And don’t forget, if you’re ever stuck or something looks off, the undo button is your friend. Playing around with column widths should be a pain-free process. So go ahead, give it a whirl, and watch as your document transforms before your very eyes. After all, it’s not just about the words on the page, but how those words are presented that can make all the difference.

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