I am trying (and failing) to create a Microsoft Word document that has two columns on the first page, and one column on every succeeding page.

The idea is that the first page has a list of people in the organization down the left-hand edge of the page in a narrow column, and the wider right-hand column has the text (letter or report text).

I can sort-of make this work if I insert a section break at the page break, but the section break keeps moving down the document, and I want to explicitly change sections at the second page (so that each succeeding page is just normal text in one column).

I thought I could put a section break at the end of the page, but that doesn't seem to be an option.

Failing that, if someone has any other suggestions as to how to achieve what I need, that'd be great!

If it makes a difference, I'm using MS Word for Mac 2015.


You can't achieve it with column settings, instead:

To make the first column in the first page just insert a table of one cell (or a text box, that will do the same)

  • set its height to be the same as the page's height
  • set with to the desired value
  • set text to be wrapped around it
  • remove borders to make your first column look like the normal text.
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  • Thank-you! That did it for me! I should have thought of that first, but I inherited the document and was trying to make it work the way the original author was doing it. – Peter K. Jan 27 '16 at 13:05

I just found out that this can, in fact, be done. If you go to Layout > Breaks > Section Breaks > Next Page, it will allow you to format one section with a certain number of columns and the other section with a different number of columns.

Hope that helps someone else down the road!

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