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How to Create Columns of Text

There are times when you may want your text to appear in columns. Perhaps it’s a page of poetry where the lines are relatively short, or a list of ingredients in a cookbook. There are correct and incorrect ways to achieve this. The incorrect way could lead to delays in your book’s production.

You should not be pressing the spacebar or the tab key to space apart your columns on the page. You may be able to get this to look right within the margins of your original manuscript, but as soon as those margins have to change into your final book size, it will probably look very different from what you intended.

The correct way to do this in Microsoft Word is to select the text you want to appear in columns. Then, go to ‘Format’ and ‘Columns’. You’ll be able to select how many columns you want. In this example, we’re dealing with a list of pretty short words so I’m going to try setting it up in four columns. Normally, we recommend no more than two columns in a 6 by 9 sized book. Any more than 2 may not fit on the final book page. If we go back into ‘Show Formatting’ mode, you’ll see that there are no tabs or spaces separating out the columns. This is what your columns should look like.

If your text columns have been created incorrectly, they will need to be reconstructed before your book can begin production. You can do this yourself using the process we just discussed or you can contact a representative about a manuscript cleanup estimate if you would like us to do the repairs.

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