How to Switch Columns in Google Docs: A Step-by-Step Guide

Switching columns in Google Docs is a handy feature that can improve the layout and readability of your document. To do this, simply highlight the text you want to move, cut it, and paste it into the desired column. It’s a quick and easy process that can make a big difference in the presentation of your document.

After completing this action, the selected text will be moved from its original column to the new one, allowing for better organization and flow within your document.


When working with documents, especially those that require a well-structured layout like newsletters, brochures, or resumes, columns become an essential tool. They help in organizing content in a readable and professional manner. But what happens when you need to switch the content from one column to another? Well, that’s where the flexibility of Google Docs shines.

Google Docs is a powerful word-processing tool that rivals traditional desktop applications. It’s not only free and accessible from any device with internet access, but it also allows for real-time collaboration and editing. For users who need to switch columns in Google Docs, whether to enhance the appearance of their document or to correct a layout error, knowing how to do so efficiently is vital. This task is relevant to anyone from students creating a newspaper for a school project to professionals designing a company bulletin.

Step by Step Tutorial on How to Switch Columns in Google Docs

Before we dive into the steps, it’s important to understand what we’re aiming to achieve. We want to move text from one column to another without altering the overall layout or formatting of the document.

Step 1: Highlight the Text

Start by highlighting the text you want to move to another column.

Once you have selected the text, it’s ready to be cut or copied. Make sure you don’t miss out on any important content during this selection process.

Step 2: Cut or Copy the Text

Right-click on the highlighted text and choose ‘Cut’ or use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+X (Cmd+X for Mac users).

Cutting the text removes it from its original location, making it ready to be pasted elsewhere. Alternatively, you can copy the text if you want to retain it in both columns.

Step 3: Place the Cursor in the New Column

Click at the point in the new column where you want the text to appear.

This step ensures that the text will be pasted in the correct location within the new column.

Step 4: Paste the Text

Right-click again and choose ‘Paste’ or use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+V (Cmd+V for Mac users) to paste the text into the new column.

Pasting the text inserts it into the new column, completing the switch. Make sure the formatting is consistent after the paste operation.


Enhanced ReadabilitySwitching columns can improve the flow of your document, making it easier for readers to follow along.
Improved OrganizationBy moving text to different columns, you can better categorize and separate ideas or topics within your document.
Customizable LayoutYou have the control to change the layout of your document to fit your specific needs or preferences.


Potential for Formatting IssuesWhen switching columns, you might encounter formatting inconsistencies that need to be manually adjusted.
Time-ConsumingIf you’re dealing with a large amount of text, this process can be a bit time-consuming.
Limited to TextThis method is primarily for text; images and other elements may not transfer as easily.

Additional Information

While the steps outlined above are straightforward, there are a few additional tips that can enhance your experience when switching columns in Google Docs. For instance, if you’re planning to switch columns frequently, familiarizing yourself with keyboard shortcuts can save you time. Also, it’s important to periodically save your document to avoid losing any changes due to unforeseen issues like internet connectivity problems.

Another thing to keep in mind is the use of the ‘Undo’ function (Ctrl+Z or Cmd+Z) if you make a mistake while switching columns. This function is a lifesaver and can revert your document back to the state before the error occurred. Moreover, it’s worth noting that Google Docs automatically saves versions of your document, allowing you to revert to previous versions if necessary.

Remember, practice makes perfect. The more you work with columns and familiarize yourself with Google Docs’ features, the more proficient you’ll become in creating stunning and well-organized documents.


  1. Highlight the text you want to move.
  2. Cut or copy the highlighted text.
  3. Click in the new column where the text will go.
  4. Paste the text into the new column.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I switch columns in Google Docs using a mobile device?

Yes, you can switch columns in Google Docs on a mobile device, although the process may be slightly different due to the touch interface.

What happens to the formatting when I switch columns in Google Docs?

The formatting should remain the same, but you may need to make minor adjustments after pasting the text into the new column.

Can I switch columns in Google Docs if my document is not in ‘Print Layout’ mode?

Switching to ‘Print Layout’ mode provides a clearer view of the columns and might make the process easier, but it is not mandatory.

Can I move images between columns in Google Docs?

Yes, you can move images in the same way as text, but alignment and text wrapping settings may need to be adjusted afterward.

Is there a limit to how many times I can switch columns in Google Docs?

No, you can switch columns as many times as necessary to achieve the desired layout for your document.


Switching columns in Google Docs is a simple yet powerful feature that can dramatically improve the look and feel of your documents. Whether you’re a student, a professional, or just someone who loves to organize content neatly, mastering this skill will serve you well.

Remember to take advantage of Google Docs’ real-time saving feature and version history to ensure your hard work is never lost. With a bit of practice and creativity, you’ll be switching columns like a pro in no time. So, go ahead and give it a try – your documents will thank you for it!

Get Our Free Newsletter

How-to guides and tech deals

You may opt out at any time.
Read our Privacy Policy