How to Make Columns in Google Docs (in 2021)

In this blog post, I'll dive into how you're able to create beautiful looking columns in a matter of minute using Google Docs.

How to Make Columns in Google Docs (in 2021)
Photo by Romain V / Unsplash

With free access to information, we can get overwhelmed by the amount of data our brains have to process, which is why tables are widely used to organize data into formats that people can understand. From flight schedules to meal plans, table-making is an integral part of our lives. I will therefore show you the basics of creating tables by guiding you on how to make columns in Google Docs.

To make columns in Google Docs, you first need to select “Insert” from the menu bar. Select “Table” and hover over the boxes displayed to the right to determine how many columns you would like to have. Once you have determined the number of columns, left-click your mouse for the columns to appear in the document.

I will show you how to make a table in Google Docs, then I will show you how to add and remove columns from your table. I will also show you different methods to adjust the size of your columns to your preferences. I will explain how to utilize all these skills using a scenario so that you can appreciate how we structure data from our everyday lives into tables.

How To Make A Table In Google Docs

Tables are used to organize jumbled data into understandable, reader-friendly information. It provides categories in which you can group related items. To show how we can organize information using our columns, we will create a scenario, then use our table to organize the information.

In our scenario, we have just moved into a new house and we must stack all our items in the appropriate area. We have a jumbled pile of various items that need to be tabulated in order to figure out where each item should go. We will first create our table to house this information.

To make a table in Google Doc, you will first select “Insert” on the menu bar. You will then select “Table”. A drop-down will appear, where you will have to choose how many columns and rows you would like for the table.

Drag your mouse across the boxes to show how many columns you would like. Once you have hovered over your desired number of columns, left-click your mouse so that the table appears.

We will have five columns and two rows for our table. It will depict the different areas in the house where you can place each item.

Where a column and a row intersect, it is called a cell. So, in all, our table will have ten cells. We will fill the top cells with the sections of the house we would like to identify.

Our five columns represent our five sections: Bedroom, Kitchen, Dining Room, Patio and Bathroom. You can organize a few of our items under these columns, according to the room in which they should be placed. This is how tables are used to structure almost any piece of data.

Next, I will show you a few ways to configure your columns in Google Docs.

How To Add A Column In Google Docs Table

Continuing with our scenario, let us say that we forgot that there was another section of the house, like the Cellar. Our table is already created though, so we will have to add another column to it.

We achieve this in Google Docs by right-clicking one of the columns in the table. I would suggest clicking on a column next to where you would like your new column to be. If you would like to add the “Cellar” column between the “Bedroom” and “Kitchen” column, then you can either right-click on the “Bedroom” column then select “Insert column right” or click on the “Kitchen” column and select “Insert column left”.

Alternatively, if you would like to add more than one column beside each other, then you would need to highlight the respective number of existing columns beside where you intend to place the other two. For example, if you would like two additional columns between your “Kitchen” and “Dining Room” columns, you would need to highlight the “Bedroom” and “Kitchen” columns. Right-click the highlighted columns then click “Insert two columns to the right”.

For each number of columns you would like to add, you should highlight the corresponding amount of existing columns. If there are fewer existing columns than the number of extra columns you would like to add, you would not be able to add all six columns simultaneously. You would have to add five columns first, then add another single column.

You will now be able to regulate how many columns you desire as well as decide where you would like your columns to fall in your table.

The more columns that are added, the smaller each column will become. Below I will show you how to adjust your columns to fit your data.

How To Adjust The Width Of Columns

Adjusting the width of your columns allows your table to look organized and improves reader friendliness. By default, Google Docs will evenly distribute your column's width according to the overall width of your table. This however will cause words or phrases that are longer than the distributed width, to end up at the line of text directly underneath the words that fit within the width.

This will also affect the overall length of your row. Google Docs, however, provide ways to adjust the width of your columns based on your preferences.

There are three ways to distribute your columns. You can manually drag the columns to your desired width, or you can insert into Google Docs what length you would like your columns to be. I will also show you how to return your column to even distribution.

Personally, I would prefer automatically distributing my columns as I am fonder of even tables. However, all methods are appropriate for the respective reasons you choose to do them. I will describe how to achieve each method as well as describe what each method is best for.

You can manually drag the borders of your columns to accommodate your desired width. This is preferable if you prioritize having the length of the words fit into the same line of text. Simply hover over any of the column’s borders. your cursor’s symbol will change to accommodate dragging the border. While it will not automatically disrupt the width of your table, it gives you the option to widen your table as desired.

If you have predetermined measurements of what you would like the width of each of your columns to be, you can right-click the column you would like to adjust, then click on “Table preferences”. You will see a box beside the word “Columns” where you can type how many inches you would like that specific column to be. Input the amount and select “Ok”.

If you would like all your columns to be at the same specified measurement, simply highlight all your columns then click on “Table preferences”. Insert the number of inches you would like each column to be then select “Ok”.

In order to return your columns to evenly distributed widths, right-click on any column in your table and select “Distribute columns”.

How To Remove A Column In Google Docs Table

To remove a column in your Google Docs table, simply right-click on the column that you would like to remove, then select “Delete column”. Consider our previous scenario where we initially had five columns representing each section of the house. If we decided that we no longer wanted the “Patio” column, we would right-click that column then select “Delete column”.

The Patio column will be removed leaving us with four columns. If there are multiple columns that you would like to delete, then highlight those columns, right-click the highlighted columns, then select “Delete columns.”

If you would simply like to change the information inside that column, I would recommend just removing the contents of the column instead. To delete the contents of a column, highlight it then press “Delete” or “Backspace” from your keyboard. Afterward, fill it with the new content you desire.

For example, if you would no longer like to list the contents for the patio but would like to list the contents for the attic instead, highlight the entire “Patio” column then press “Delete” or “Backspace”. Enter your new information for your attic. You have therefore saved yourself the trouble of having to re-add a column to change its information.

Conclusion

Your table can be configured to reflect any change in data and can also be structured in a manner that is understandable and professionally done. Your tables can be simple like the one we used to organize the house contents or become more complex with additional columns that further categorizes each house content. You now have the skills necessary to accomplish organizing whichever information you want to, using columns in Google Docs.