Project 2: AutoTools
Adjust Columns

Title: Jan's Illustrated Computer Literacy 101
Did you want: Working with Words: Word 2007,2010,2013,2016 or españolIcon: Change web

Once you have created a set of columns, you may need make some adjustments to get the layout you want. Funny things can happen to the text wrapping and justification. If your columns fall over onto another page, you will likely want to revise in some way to get all the material on the same page.

There are a number of adjustments you might make:

  • column margins
  • column indentions
  • page margins
  • blank lines
  • header/footer height

In the exercise below you will practice with the first two of these using the ruler.

Where you are:
JegsWorks > Lessons > Word97-2003

Before you start...

Project 1: Word BasicsTo subtopics

Project 2: Auto Tools
    Make ChangesTo subtopics
    AutoformatTo subtopics
    Margins & Breaks To subtopics
    icon-footprintAdjust Columns
    Wizards/TemplatesTo subtopics
     ExercisesTo subtopics

Project 3: BrochureTo subtopics

Project 4: ReportTo subtopics


Icon Step-by-Step 

Step-by-Step: Adjust Columns

 Icon Step-by-Step

What you will learn:

to adjust indention with the ruler
to change column margin with the ruler

Start with:Class disk , trip planner7.doc

Adjust Columns: Indention

Word's automatic columns are not always quite what you want. You can use the ruler to make some adjustments. Getting the distances just exactly right is important only sometimes! Your selection is always important when changing indentions.

To have your page look like the illustrations, if you are using metric measurements instead of inches, use about 6.3 mm instead of ¼" and about 12.7 mm instead of ½". The point of this section is not to get the numbers exactly right! It is to learn how to change the look of your columns. These actions can be applied to regular paragraphs, too, of course, not just columns.

  1. Right column selectedSelect all the lines in the right column of Package 1's list. The ruler changes to measure just the columns instead of the whole page.

    Tip When adjusting indentions, you do not have to select the whole paragraph as you did before to create the columns. As long a part of the paragraph is included in the selection, your changes will be applied to it.
  2. Pointer on ruler boxMove your pointer over the indention box indention box on ruler on the ruler.
  3. Left tab moved leftDrag the box to the left from the ½" mark to the ¼" mark and drop. Whoops! You dragged a left tab stop left tab indicator instead! That's OK.
  4. Ruler - indention box moved leftAgain drag the box to the ¼" mark. Now the indent moves. (Word is a bit strange sometimes.)

    Text - Package 1 right columns moved left  

  5. Text- Package 2 list is on two pagesDo the same for the bulleted lists under Package 2. Package 2 has one item that changed pages and columns!
    • Select the list items.
    • Change the indent for column 2.
    • Change the indent for the line that changed pages.

    List still has item on next page:  If the last item for Package 2 is still on page 2, delete one of the blank lines on page 1.

  6. Repeat to change the indentions in column 2 for Packages 3 and 4.
  7. Check indentions: The left columns of all 4 packages should have the indention box on the ½" mark. The right columns should have the indention box in the ¼" mark. If necessary, select all the lines in a column and move the tab and the indention box to the correct spot.
  8. Text- Package 3 item justifiedFix justification: Look for list items that are being spread out too far because of being justified. Fix justifications by putting the cursor in the paragraph and clicking Button- Left Align  the Left Align button.
    Text- Package 3- left aligned item Icon: TroubleChanging alignment also changes the indentions: Immediately after you change the alignment, click the Undo button. The indentions return to the previous settings. Word is doing some kind of automatic formatting of the columns when you change the alignment. Unexpected!
  9. Class diskSave as  trip planner8.htm  to the  word project2  folder of your Class disk.

    Full disk How to handle a full disk

Adjust Columns: Margins

Another way to adjust the columns layout is to change the width of the column or of the space between the columns. You do this on the ruler by dragging at the boundary between the gray and white areas.

  1. Put the cursor somewhere in the first list item for Package 1.
  2. Ruler - margin arrowsMove the pointer to the ruler, over the left boundary between the gray and white areas that define the column width. The pointer shape changes to a double arrow when you are in the right spot. 
  3. Ruler - dragging margin boundaryDrag right. A dotted line runs down the page to show where the margin will be. Drag until the dotted line meets the left side of the letter k in Package 1. Release the mouse button. The column margin is moved.

    Text - Snorkeling line changed columnsThe columns width is smaller. The items wrap differently. Some lines change columns or pages. Package 2 lost its last item to the next page again because Package 1's list is taking up extra vertical space on the page.
    Snorkeling moved over to column 1, but it is not lined up with the first two items. Why??  The line Snorkeling has its indention set to ¼" like column 2, while the rest of column 1 has an indention of ½".

Adjust Columns: Column Break

That Snorkeling item needs to be back over in column 2. A column break is what you need.

  1. Text- cursor to left of Snorkeling Move your cursor to the left end of the line Snorkeling. 
  2. Dialog- Break -Column BreakSelect from the menu  Insert  |  Break...  |  Column Break  and click on OK to close the dialog.

    Snorkeling moves back to the top of the second column and Package 2 gets its last item back.

    Text - Package 1 with column break

  3. Repeat the margin adjustment for the other 3 package lists.
    • Click in an item in left column.
    • Drag left margin on ruler until dotted line meets the k in the word Package. (You should not need any more columns breaks.)

Final Edit & Print

Before printing, check your document thoroughly. Be sure that you have not introduced any new problems on the pages that you could not see as you changed margins and did other edits. You must read the document carefully to find errors that the Spell Check and Grammar Check will not notice.

Look carefully at the Page Setup dialog. Once you start creating different sections and margins and indentions in your document, you increase the likelihood of having problems when you try to print. This is especially easy to do if you change the paper size or enter numbers in Page Setup instead of dragging on the ruler. You can omit a decimal, for example, so that a margin of 2.0 cm becomes a margin of 20 cm!

  1. Alignments: Check alignments of paragraphs, including columns.
  2. Spell Check.
  3. Read: Look for errors like "it" for "is". Check capitalization of list items 
  4. Page Setup: Open Page Setup-     File  |  Page Setup... 
  5. Dialog-Page Setup - A4 paperOn the Paper Size tab, look at the list of available sizes. Those of you in the USA probably use Letter paper almost all of the time. Those of you in other parts of the world probably use A4 paper mostly.
  6. Change the Paper size to A4, which is narrower than Letter size and apply it to the Whole document. (If you are already using A4, change the width to something smaller than the current number.)
    The Preview image goes blank. Why? The next step tells you, sort of.
  7. Click on OK. A warning message appears.

    Error - paper not wide enough
    This narrower paper is not wide enough for your margins, column spacing, and paragraph indents when they are added together! There are other ways to hit this message besides changing paper size.

    Warning- margins, etc. won't fit on this size page

    Some other programs will offer to automatically adjust these so that all will fit on the page. Unfortunately, with Word you must do some detective work yourself. It can be very frustrating! You must check each section, including the header and footer. The offending part may be a formatted line that is blank or one does not have enough text on it to show the problem!

    The moral of this tale = pick your paper size before typing your document!

  8. Click on OK to close the warning message. You are back in Page Setup.

  9. Change your paper size back to the original and click on OK to close the dialog.

  10. Print Preview: You may spot bad alignments in this view more easily. There are no marks and break lines to get in your way. If your Package 2 has an item on Page 3 (again!), remove a blank line somewhere above that section.

    Don't be startled by page 3 in Preview. When you view the whole page, the lines for the fill-in-the-blanks may not show. Zoom in to see the blanks.

  11. Class disk  Save as  trip planner8.htm  in the  word project2  folder of your Class disk.

    Full disk How to handle a full disk

  12. Print icon Print: From the menu choose File | Print... and then check the Printer options from the Print dialog before you print all three pages.

Document after adjusting columns