Creating and working with columns in iWork Pages

Using columns in documents started in the early days of print to accommodate manual typesetting. Columns are used today for advertising on print and web media. Columns provide space for more headlines on a page and they facilitate the reading of the text by making the number of words we need to read across a column shorter.

I use columns in my magazine because it makes it easier for me to provide more graphics, which are a major part of my magazine, and it makes it easier to deal with the small blocks of text, which are also a part of the magazine.

In this example, I have a typical lesson where the text is laid out in one column.

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In the format panel, click on the layout section button.

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To change the number of columns, all we need to do is enter the number of columns we need.

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Pages will reflow all the text and images to fit within the two column layout. In order for images to reflow into the new column format, they need to be inline images so they can flow with the text.

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When columns are created, they include a Gutter. The Gutter is the space between columns. Pages tries to provide the best Gutter, based on the document size being used.

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We can change the Gutter width by double clicking inside the Gutter field.

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After manually changing the Gutter width, press Enter. If the width of the Gutter doesn’t change, that means Pages cannot change the Gutter based on the current document settings. If this happens, you will need to change the document size or margins.

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In this example, I’ve increased the Gutter to .5 inches. The text and images in the right column have reduced in size to accommodate the Gutter width. The contents of the left column are not affected.

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The unequal column widths we have in this example might be useful for some layouts, but in this layout, we need the columns to be of equal length to provide each image the best resolution. To make sure we have equal column widths, we’ll need to place a check mark on the equal column width option.

Placing a checkmark on the equal column width option after we’ve set the Gutter might reset the Gutter width.

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