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OpenOffice Writer 3.x Guide
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Changing the number of columns for existing text

You might want some parts of a page to have one column and other parts of the page to have two or more columns. For example, you might have a page-width headline over a three-column news story.

You can create columns and then type or paste text into them, or you can select some existing text and change the number of columns for displaying it.

When you select text and change the number of columns for that text, Writer turns the selected text into a section, as described in Using sections for page layout.

Image:Tip.pngYou cannot select text on a two-column page and change it to a single column using this method. Instead, you need to define a single-column page and then select the text you want to be in a two-column section.

The figure below shows the Columns dialog box for a selection. Notice that the Apply to box on the right-hand side has Selection highlighted and an extra checkbox (Evenly distribute contents to all columns) appears in the upper left-hand part of the dialog box.

Specifying columns for a selection.

Distributing text across columns

As you add text to the section, you will see that the text flows from one column to the next. You can distribute text across the columns in one of two ways:

  • Evenly—If you choose to distribute text evenly, Writer will fill the first line of each column, followed by the second line of each column, and so on.
  • Newspaper-style—If you choose to distribute text newspaper-style, Writer will fill the columns one at a time, beginning with the first column.

To distribute text evenly, select the Evenly distribute contents to all columns option in the Settings area. Deselect this option if you want to distribute text newspaper-style.

Image:Tip.pngChoose View > Nonprinting Characters (or press Ctrl+F10) to display end of paragraph markers (¶). Often, unexpected behavior of columns is due to extra paragraphs that are normally invisible to the user but are taking up space.

OpenOffice Writer 3.x Guide
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