Create columns of text in a text box or shape in PowerPoint

You can arrange your text into columns in PowerPoint. You can also specify the spacing (in inches) between the columns. Here’s how:

Newer versions

  1. Right-click the text box, placeholder, or shape border, and click Format Shape.

  2. On the right side of the window, click Text Options > Textbox Textbox button .

    Text box margin settings
  3. Click Columns, enter the number of columns in the Number box, and the space between each column (in inches) in the Spacing box.
    Turn text into columns

    If the Columns button is grayed out, it's likely because you are working on a table. Columns for tables are described in a separate article. See Add or delete table rows and columns.

  4. Any text you now enter will appear in columns. If the object you right-clicked in step 1 already contained text, you’ll see that the text now appears in columns.

    You can adjust balance of text in your columns by adding or remove line breaks: Press Enter to add blank lines and move text to the next column, or press Backspace or Delete or remove blank lines and move text to the previous column.

    You can also resize the box that contains the columns to make the columns more even, if you like.

Office 2007 or 2010

  1. Right-click the text box, placeholder, or shape border, and click Format Shape.

  2. In the Format Shape dialog box, select the Text Box tab on the left.

    Text box margin settings
  3. Click Columns, enter the number of columns in the Number box, and the space between each column (in inches) in the Spacing box.
    Turn text into columns

    If the Columns button is grayed out, it's likely because you are working on a table. Columns for tables are described in a separate article. See Add or delete table rows and columns.

  4. Click OK, and then close the Format Shape dialog box. Any text you now enter will appear in columns. If the object you right-clicked in step 1 already contained text, you’ll see that the text now appears in columns.

    You can adjust balance of text in your columns by adding or remove line breaks: Press Enter to add blank lines and move text to the next column, or press Backspace or Delete or remove blank lines and move text to the previous column.

    You can also resize the box that contains the columns to make the columns more even, if you like.

Newer versions

  1. Right-click the text box, placeholder, or shape border, and click Format Shape.

  2. On the right side of the window, click Text Options > Textbox In the Format Shape pane, select Text Options > Textbox .

  3. Click Columns, enter the number of columns in the Number box, and the space between each column (in inches) in the Spacing box.

    The Columns option in the Format Shape pane helps you arrange text in columns

    If the Columns button is grayed out, it's likely because you are working on a table. Columns for tables are described in a separate article. See Add or delete table rows and columns.

  4. Any text you now enter will appear in columns. If the object you right-clicked in step 1 already contained text, you’ll see that the text now appears in columns.

    You can adjust balance of text in your columns by adding or remove line breaks: Press Enter to add blank lines and move text to the next column, or press Backspace or Delete or remove blank lines and move text to the previous column.

    You can also resize the box that contains the columns to make the columns more even, if you like.

Office 2011

  1. Right-click the text box, placeholder, or shape border, and click Format Text.

  2. In the Format Text dialog box, on the left side, select the Columns tab.

    If the Columns tab isn't available, it's likely because you are working on a table or on an object that doesn't support multiple columns. Columns for tables are described in a separate article. See Add or delete table rows and columns.

  3. Enter a numeral in the Number of columns box, and enter the space you want between each column (in inches) in the Spacing between columns box.

  4. Select OK. Any text you now enter will appear in columns. If the object you right-clicked in step 1 already contained text, you’ll see that the text now appears in columns.

    You can adjust balance of text in your columns by adding or remove line breaks: Press Enter to add blank lines and move text to the next column, or press Backspace or Delete or remove blank lines and move text to the previous column.

    You can also resize the box that contains the columns to make the columns more even, if you like.

Column breaks

PowerPoint doesn't have the ability to insert a column break in a multi-column text box. If you want to vote for having this feature, go to this page in the PowerPoint suggestion box and click Vote.

Making columns in a table

If you're using a table, the feature for making columns is different. Read Add or delete table rows and columns instead of this article.

See Also

Add a table to a slide

Move or resize a table

Change the look of a table

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