3 ways to get data into columns in Word

Jul 8, 2021 | Word Hints and Tips

Have you got a list of data?  But it takes up a lot of vertical space and there is nothing to the right of it? 

Putting the information into multiple columns could be the trick to save this wasted space.  Did you know there are 3 ways to do this though? 


With columns you can create a list then show it in up to 12 columns (although 2 or 3 is much more common). 

1. Create your column of data.

2. Select the data.  Make sure the data is not right at the top or right at the bottom of the page or this may not work correctly. 

3. From the Layout tab choose Columns and the number of columns required.

Column options in Word

4. If you require more columns or greater control over the column widths then choose More Columns. 

More Column Options in Word


A table can be made to look like the data is in columns if the borders of the table are removed after creation.  The table need to be created before the data is added. 

1. From the home tab select Insert Table and either highlight the boxes in the table to the required number of rows and columns or Insert Columns and type in the number of rows and columns needed.

Insert Table Options in Word

2. Type in your data 

3. Select the whole table using the 4 ended arrow that appears at the top left of the table 

4. From the Table Design tab select Borders and No Border.

Tab stops to create columns in Word


Tabs are often the option that people find most fiddly but once understood can be just as effective as the other methods described here. 

1. Set up your tab stops on the ruler as required. These are added by changing the tab stop to the required type using the icon to the left of the ruler then clicking on the ruler where you need it to be set.

    1. Press tab then type in the first entry 
    2. To type the entry at the top of the next column press tab and type in the next entry 
    3. Repeat until all the columns have been filled 
    4. Press ENTER to proceed to the next line 
    5. Repeat steps 2 to 5 until all the data has been entered 

Each of these choices have their merits depending on the situation so it’s impossible to say which one you should use however having knowing the options available is half the battle!! 

Further Reading

If you’ve enjoyed reading about the different ways to get data into columns in Word, there’s some other blogs below that you might find useful:

Want to learn more about Microsoft Word? Then email lara@laramellortraining.co.uk to discuss how I can help or have a look at the Microsoft Word Courses I run.