How to Make Columns in InDesign

In this handy guide, we've shared how to make columns in InDesign, so you can create an elegant newspaper or magazine layout with enough space for your content. Columns help to break up text-heavy designs, so that the reader isn't overwhelmed with information. They also improve the overall clarity and balance of your layout. 

How to Make Columns in InDesign
1. First, load an existing InDesign project or select "File" > "New" to start a new one. In the New Document window, choose your Number of Pages and Page Size, and then find the Columns section. 

Here, you can decide how many columns to add on each page, and how much blank space to have between columns (the Gutter setting). Illustrator will automatically adjust the columns so that the gutter width is maintained throughout your project. When you're happy with the settings, click OK. 

2. If you're working with an existing project, it only takes a few steps to add new columns. First, find the Pages menu and double-click on the page that you'd like to edit. Click on the area where you'd like the columns to go, and then choose "Layout" > "Margins and Columns" (or press Ctrl/Command+B). In the Columns section, you can enter the desired number of columns and gutter width.   

3. Finally, you can take any overset text in your project and place it into a new column. To do this, draw a text frame next to an existing column, choose the Selection tool, and click on the overset text icon (it looks like a red + symbol). Move your cursor over the new text frame until it changes shape, and then click once. Now, the overset text will continue into this new column.  

How to Add Columns to a Text Frame
To create columns in an existing text frame, choose the Selection tool and click on a frame to select it. Then, go to "Object" > "Text Frame Options". Just like the Margins and Columns window, this dialog box allows you to choose the number of columns, the gutter width, and column width. If you enable "Fixed Column Width", the column width will stay the same when you resize the text frame. Finally, if you enable "Balanced Columns", the text will be dispersed between columns so that each text block is the same length. 
How to Add Columns to Master/Spread Pages
To add columns to multiple pages across an InDesign project, first find the Pages menu and click on a master page. If you're targeting a page spread, just click on the page numbers that comprise the entire spread. Next, choose "Layout" > "Margins and Columns", and adjust the columns and gutter width for your spread. When you click OK, the column settings will be applied to every selected page.  
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