If you just want to know how to make columns in Google Docs and Word Documents, this short video demonstration will get you started.

Let’s Talk Columns

Columns are a useful feature in documents. They can be used to visually chunk the document content. They can also make a document physically shorter, using less paper or taking up fewer pages.

Did you know there is a right way, and a couple of wrong ways, to create columns in a document?

Doing It Wrong

One wrong way is a carryover from the days of typewriters. Some people set tabs in their document and then use the tab key to create visual columns.

Another wrong way is to insert a table and use it as a column layout tool.

Both these ways impede a user’s ability to navigate a document using a keyboard. These methods also interfere with the reading order of a document, which is used by text-to-speech and screen reader applications.

Correct Columns

We want columns that preserve keyboard navigability and document reading order. This best practice will help ensure your document is fully accessible to all users.

The correct way to create columns is to use the columns feature in Google Docs and in Microsoft Word. Both applications have similar methods for setting up columns, though they are located in different places within each application.

The video at the start of this article demonstrates how to create columns correctly in both Google Docs and Microsoft Word. If you prefer written instructions with images, check out these resources:

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