Using Columns in Google Docs

UntitledRemember the old “I’m not only the hair club president, I’m also a client” commercials? Well, I’m not only a nerdy passionate tech guy, I’m also a parent of three kids. My daughter in elementary school just finished up an at home project. The last part she had to complete was a one page newspaper. The directions said it had to have three articles and each article was to be in it’s own column.

Well, this sounds a bit complicated. Google Docs probably can’t handle making columns. Guess, I’m going to have to use Word instead, right???

Well, if the answer was yes, this would be a pretty short post. Thankfully, the answer is no. The answer has been no for a long time, but the best news is it is even easier than before. You used to have to create a 3 column by 1 row table. However, now Google Docs has support for columns.

In your Google Doc, click on Format > Columns
Screenshot 2017-12-06 at 11.40.17 AM

If you don’t have any text in your file, you see much happen. However, notice the ruler at the top of the document now shows to column breaks.

When you start typing you’ll (by default) type in column one until the end and then your Screenshot 2017-12-06 at 11.57.05 AM.pngtext will continue into column two. What if you don’t fill up column one, but want to move to column two. One option would be to press the enter key until you move to column two, but that’s like using the space bar rather than the tab key. If you later add or subtract text in column one your spacing could change.

This would be a better option.

  1. Put your cursor at the end of your text
  2. Click the Insert Menu
  3. Choose Column break.

Now you can make changes to column one without effecting the line spacing in the other columns.

So now you have all of your info typed into your columns, but you want to put some information at the top or the bottom of the document. Back to my example of making a newspaper. The newspaper needed a title, but we didn’t want the title to be part of a column. We wanted it to span the entire top of the paper. What we needed was a header.

Inserting a header is so simple, it doesn’t need steps. Just click the Insert menu and choose Header.
When typing in the header section there is a checkbox available  if you want your first page header and footer to be different than other pages. You can follow the same process to insert a footer into the document.

Here’s a GIF of the whole process.
Setting Up Columns in Google Drive

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