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How to Create Two Columns in Google Docs (Step-by-Step)

December 5, 2023 1.8K views

Creating two columns of text in documents can improve readability, allow side-by-side comparisons, and organize information. This tutorial will demonstrate multiple methods to divide content into columns within Google Docs. Following these step-by-step instructions and screenshots, you'll learn how to make two columns on desktop and mobile platforms to enhance document design.

How to Make Two Columns in Google Docs on PC:

The two-column layout is a common way to present text, often used in newspapers, newsletters, and brochures. It allows for easy comparison of two pieces of text side-by-side. There are a few different ways to create two columns in Google Docs on your desktop or laptop. Here are step-by-step instructions for each method:

Method 1: Use the Columns format

Step 1: Open your Google Docs document.

Step 2: Highlight the text you want to organize in two columns.

Step 3: Click on the “Format” tab.

Step 4: Click or hover over the “Columns” option in the drop-down menu.

Step 5: Click on the two-column option in the drop-down menu.

Step 6: You now have the ability to modify the paragraphs according to your preference.

Step 7: (Optional) Format your columns, such as inserting a vertical line or adjusting spacing. Access this option by Go to Format > Columns > More options.

Method 2: Use Tables

Step 1: Click on the “Insert” tab.

Step 2: Click on or hover over the “Table” option.

Step 3: Create a table with two columns and one row.

Step 4: Insert text in the columns.

Step 5: Format your table, including adjusting borders, background color, thickness, and style.

Step 6: (Optional) Change the margins of the text if needed.

Columns tool creates basic two-column documents. Use column breaks for precise control. Adjust gutter width and spacing in "More options" to avoid uneven columns. Tables give more customization options but columns won't balance as you edit.

How to Make Two Columns in Google Docs on Mobile

You can also divide text into two columns when editing Google Docs on your phone or tablet. The controls are slightly different depending on whether you use Android or iOS.

To create two columns in the Google Docs mobile app, you'll need to use tables as the column format feature is unavailable on mobile. Here's a step-by-step guide:

Step 1: Launch the Google Docs mobile app and open your document.

Step 2: Tap on the pencil icon to edit.

Step 3: Tap on "Insert" (the + symbol in the top-right menu).

Step 4: Scroll down and tap on "Table."

Step 5: Adjust the number of columns to two by tapping the down arrow on "Columns" and reducing them to two. You can also adjust the number of rows.

Step 6: Tap on “Insert Table” right below.

Step 7: Start copying and insert your text into the newly created table.

Keep in mind that, unlike the browser version, you won't be able to remove table borders directly in the mobile app. For additional functionality, consider accessing Google Docs from a mobile web browser.

How to Make a Table with Columns on Google Docs

In addition to dividing a document's text into side-by-side columns, you can also create tables with columns for organizing and presenting data.

Here's an overview of configuring the columns of a table in Google Docs:

Step 1: Insert a table by going to Insert > Table. The table will be inserted with the specified rows and columns.

Step 2: Navigate to the menu bar, click Format, select Table, and choose the desired option. You can insert rows or columns.

It's easy to remove unwanted rows or columns. Simply click the cell within the row or column to be removed, go to the menu bar, click Format, select Table, and choose the Delete option.

Tip:

  • For better table adjustments, select the table and go to Format > Table > Table properties.

Tables are perfect for organizing text, numbers, images, charts, or other elements into an attractive two-column layout. Play around with cell alignments, borders, spacing, and spanned cells to get it looking just right.

Best Free Alternative to Google Docs - WPS Office

If you find Google Docs limiting for serious document creation, check out WPS Office. This free alternative lets you effortlessly make two columns and many other advanced formatting options missing from Google Docs.

What is WPS Office?

Since 1989, WPS Office has been developed by Kingsoft Office Software, and it now boasts over 500 million users worldwide. This all-in-one software is completely free, and its Trustpilot score of 4.8 confirms its reliability and efficiency as a formidable alternative to Microsoft Office. With a user-friendly interface similar to Microsoft's, WPS Office is compatible with Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android, making it a versatile and compatible choice for users across a wide range of devices.

Main Functions:

  • Writer, spreadsheet, presentation, and PDF editor.

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Highlighted Features:

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  • Lightweight (only 200M), suitable for Win7, 10, and 11.

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Multi-Platform Support:

  • Available on Windows, MacOS, Linux, iOS, and Android.

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Compatibility and Performance:

  • Strong compatibility with various document formats.

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Hence, WPS Office has become your go-to office suite. You can seamlessly work with Office documents without paying for an expensive Microsoft subscription. The cloud integration and collaborative features make WPS a great free alternative to facilitate teamwork and boost productivity.

How to Make Two Columns in WPS Office

Like Google Docs, WPS Writer on PC offers a few quick ways to create two-column documents:

Step 1: Open your document on WPS Writer.

Step 2: Highlight the text you want to organize in two columns

Step 3: Click on the Page Layout tab in the Menu bar. Then, select the Columns button and choose “Two”.


The mobile version of WPS Office also has the option to create two columns on Android devices. Here is how to do it:

Step 1: Launch WPS Office on your phone and open the document you want to edit.

Step 2: Highlight the text you want to organize in two columns.

Step 3: Tap on the “Home” button.

Step 4: In the “Columns” section, tap on the “Two” option.

Step 5: You can now edit the paragraphs as you wish.

FAQs

Can I collaborate with others on a document with multiple columns?

Yes, Google Docs' collaborative features work seamlessly with documents containing multiple columns. Multiple people can edit the doc and see real-time changes to column formatting.

How do I prevent uneven columns when adding or deleting text?

Use the "Auto-resize columns to fit content" option in the Columns tool. Or, with manual breaks, adjust column widths and gutter spacing manually after editing to balance.

Summary

Creating two columns in Google Docs is simple for basic documents but can become tricky when more customization is needed. For true control over column formatting and styles - consider WPS Office. This free alternative stands out with its familiar yet advanced features across desktop and mobile devices, perfect for polished documents. In summary, all platforms covered here allow two columns, but WPS Office offers greater flexibility plus reliable Google Docs compatibility.

15 years of office industry experience, tech lover and copywriter. Follow me for product reviews, comparisons, and recommendations for new apps and software.