How to create columns & rows in illustrator

Updated March 23, 2017

Adobe Illustrator has an impressive array of type tools and capabilities which allow the user to create nearly any text design or tackle any text formatting scenario. One such functionality, the ability to create columns and rows, might seem best left to a spreadsheet or word-processing program, but Illustrator can handle the job easily. Illustrator's Rows and Columns command is useful for changing the width, height and gutter size between rows and columns to give your Illustrator document precision when creating page layouts, charts, tables or other text-intensive elements.

Open a new Illustrator document. Locate the tool palette in your workspace, or select "Window" from the menu bar, and scroll down to "Tools." Open the text tool by clicking on the "T" icon on the right side of the palette.

Place your cursor on your Illustrator document and begin typing your text. For the purpose of this tutorial, type a good paragraph of copy.

Click on the selection tool, which is the black arrow in the tool palette, to select the text block. Select "Type" from the Illustrator menu, then scroll down to "Area Type Options." This function divides text boxes into even sections.

Click on "Rows and Columns." Note the "Rows" pane on the left. Click on the "Up" or "Down" button to specify the number of rows next to "Number." Enter the preferred height of your rows and the width of each column next to "Span." Select "Fixed" if you want the height of the columns and rows to resize when you change the type box, leaving their width intact. Deselect this box if you want the width and rows of your columns to change when you resize the text box.

Enter your gutter width -- or space between rows or columns -- in the "Gutter" box. Select "Text Flow" to adjust how text flows between rows and columns.

Click "OK" to format the columns and rows in your text box.

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About the Author

Elle Smith has been an advertising professional for more than 25 years. Her work for ABC, CBS and Sony Pictures Television has appeared on radio, on air, in print and outdoors. In addition, Smith has more than 20 years experience in marketing, graphic arts, commercial photography and print production, and is a licensed real estate agent with property management certification in California.