columnsYour call

They’re un­usual in le­gal doc­u­ments, but I don’t ob­ject to columns in a long doc­u­ment like a con­tract or a set­tle­ment agree­ment. Columns are an easy way to get a shorter and more leg­i­ble line length with­out us­ing large page mar­gins. On a stan­dard 8.5″ × 11″ page, two or three columns are fine. Four is too many.

Usu­ally columns look neat­est when the rows of text are aligned ver­ti­cally be­tween columns (i.e., as if they were sit­ting on the same base­line). Look at a de­cent news­pa­per for an ex­am­ple. Get­ting this re­sult takes a lit­tle ex­tra ef­fort. Note your line spac­ing and make sure any space be­tween para­graphs works out to a whole mul­ti­ple of the line spac­ing. The two most com­mon op­tions: set space be­tween para­graphs to zero, or set it to be the same as the line spacing.

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