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📄 Contents

  1. Creating Multicolumn Documents
  2. Understanding Multicolumn Settings
  3. How to Span Multiple Columns with Text, Graphics, and Tables
  4. Summary
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How to Span Multiple Columns with Text, Graphics, and Tables

There are a few more things you can do to fine-tune multicolumn page layout documents. Once you have a two-column (or more) layout, you are not locked into forcing all the elements on that page to appear in one column or another. Occasionally, you may have instances in which text, such as headings, graphics, or tables must span all the columns on a page.

How exactly does that affect the text in the columns when other elements span those columns? That's a good question, and the answer is one you'll want to be aware of.

If you have a two-column document, text goes down the first column, continuing at the top of the second column on the same page. Now, let's say you span both columns with a graphic about halfway down the page. The result is that text begins at the top of column 1, goes down to where the graphic frame begins, and then continues at the top of column 2. Text then fills column 2 right to where the top of the graphic frame spans the columns and then continues below the graphic frame in column 1.

Take a look at how that works for text, graphics, and tables. For this example, let's assume a two-column page layout.


Your first task is to use the Paragraph Designer to span text across two columns. Let's work with paragraph chapter headings because this is a logical choice to span more than one column. Follow these steps:

  1. Click one time inside a chapter heading paragraph tag (called ChapterTitle in this example).

  2. Press Ctrl+M to access the Paragraph Designer for ChapterTitle.

  3. Click the Pagination tab to access its settings.

  4. Under Format, there is an option called Across All Columns.

  5. Click this option, and press Update All to update all tagged ChapterTitle paragraphs as well as the catalog. For on-the-fly tagging, click Apply To Selection.

  6. ChapterTitle spans both columns while the remaining text continues to be in one column or another.


Graphics that do not fit in one column or another are better suited to span multiple columns in documents. In this section, I present you with two methods to perform this task.

Adjusting the Anchored Frame Settings

If you have anchored graphic frames to paragraphs that fall within a column, a quick edit to the frame causes it to span multiple columns. Follow these steps:

  1. Click one time on the anchored frame to select it.

  2. Select Special, Anchored Frame.

    You see the Anchored Frame window.

  3. Uncheck Cropped and then click Edit Frame.

    You are returned to the document page. Resize the anchored frame as necessary. The anchored frame and its contents span multiple columns.


If you must turn on the Cropped setting in anchored frames, use the "Anchoring the Frame to a Spanned Paragraph" technique instead.

Anchoring the Frame to a Spanned Paragraph

If you prefer not to deal with the anchored frame setting, or if you need the cropped feature turned on, you can anchor the frame to a paragraph (with or without content) that has been set to Pagination, Format, Across All Columns. This command produces the same result for the anchored frame that you saw in the previous exercise.


Tables are good candidates to span multiple columns, especially when they contain too much information to fit in a smaller space.

You can anchor the table to a spanned paragraph, using the same method as for an anchored frame. Or, if tables are already anchored to normal paragraphs, follow these steps:

  1. Select through one row of a table.

    You see a handle appear on the right side of the table.

  2. Click and hold on the handle.

    The cursor changes to an arrow.

  3. Drag the handle to the right, making the table wider.

    Once the table width grows wider than the one column, it spans multiple columns.

    You can also click inside the table, and select Table, Resize Columns to change the size of the table.

  4. To place the table back in one column only, change the overall table width to fit one column.

    The table spans one column only.

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