TextEdit - Creating and using a two-column file

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by pleasehelp1, Jan 5, 2017.

  1. pleasehelp1 macrumors newbie

    Jan 5, 2017
    Hi, I just got a new hard drive with Sierra. I’m having trouble with columns in text edit. I used to be able to open Text Edit, file, new and create a list (to print out on 8.5 x 11) with two columns by simply clicking on one icon. That icon now appears to be gone. Did they move it? Where is it?

    Instead, I went to format, table and put in 1 row and 2 columns. (By the way - to me, a row and a column are the same thing - aren’t they?) My list keeps lengthening down the first column instead of shifting over to the second column. When I try to hit tab instead to get over to the second column, the cursor appears in the middle of the second column. Also, I can’t put the cursor at the top of the second column and start typing either.

    I’m ready to write this by hand instead at this point, unless you guys think you can help.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. triptolemus macrumors 6502


    Apr 17, 2011
    I don't know why you're doing what you're doing in TextEdit, but the only way to get columns is to use a table.

    Align the columns so they are justified to the top, rather than middle, like you're seeing. Right click the table and select "Table..."

    Screen Shot 2017-01-05 at 9.01.36 PM.png

    Also, rows are horizontal. Columns are vertical.
  3. pleasehelp1 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 5, 2017
    It's not working for me. What is an easier program to use for columns that comes with Sierra already? I don't want to buy an application.
  4. bdj33ranch macrumors regular

    Apr 19, 2005
  5. DeltaMac macrumors G3


    Jul 30, 2003
    If you just want a more-capable, yet still simple word processor, then Bean is good, too... and is still free.
  6. pleasehelp1 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 5, 2017
    I'll look at those. Thanks so much to everyone who replied.
    --- Post Merged, Jan 12, 2017 ---
  7. Pearl Wisdom macrumors member

    Sep 25, 2009
    LibreOffice is an alternative to Apache OpenOffice. http://www.libreoffice.org

    I've been using it a little for a few years, just light spreadsheet use and for MS Office compatibility. When I started using it, I switched from OpenOffice because of better software maintenance for the Mac. The two projects share a lot of open source code, different branches now. Anyway, LibreOffice has worked well for me.

    Here is a recent comparison of them.
  8. BrianBaughn macrumors 603


    Feb 13, 2011
    Baltimore, Maryland
    I don't create a lot of word processing documents these days and when I do I usually go with Google Docs...can make up to a three-column document, also.
  9. MacGizmo macrumors 65816


    Apr 27, 2003
    First of all, a column and a row are not the same. Columns go across the width of the page/layout, rows go down the height of the page/layout.

    I think you're not being clear as to WHY you want to do what you're saying (having two columns for a text list). It does matter, and depending on the reason, there are probably a ton of options—or not.

    A two column page of text is VERY different from two columns of text on a page, if that makes any sense.

    If you're just looking for text to start at the top in a left column and go all the way down the page and then continue at the top of the right column, that's called a two-column layout (or multi-column, if you will). That can be done in almost any word processor, but not TextEdit—which to my knowledge has never done it, but I could be wrong.

    I would suggest Apple's own Pages app, which is free if you've bought a Mac in the last several years and have an Apple ID. But there are tons of very small/simple apps that will do a multi-column layout. I would NOT recommend LibreOffice, OpenOffice, or any other "MS Office" replacement suite. It's overkill. Someone above recommended Bean—I don't know if it does multi-column layout, but it's certainly a more suitable app for such a simple task than an entire office suite.

    If you're looking for something a little more detailed where you can have left and right columns of text items (a list) next to each other randomly at your discretion, you're more likely looking for a "table"—which means using a spreadsheet.

    I would recommend you just use Apple's own Numbers app, which is also free if you've bought a Mac in the last several years. Again, I wouldn't recommend a full suite to do such a simple task. Google Docs has a spreadsheet built-in that's pretty easy to use. However, there could also be plenty of "list-making" apps out there.

    In the end, it's difficult to say what the cheapest or easiest solution is without actually seeing what you're trying to accomplish.
  10. pleasehelp1 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 5, 2017

    Hi, I need it for a major grocery lists. The simpler the app the better.
  11. MacGizmo macrumors 65816


    Apr 27, 2003
    I created a simple two column list in Apple's Pages app. You can download it here.

    Basically, it's just a simple text column layout that types down the first column until you get to the bottom of the page, then moves to the second column.

    The spacing is set to leave more space between items, but make sure that when an item name is long and takes up more than one line in the column, it's still clear that it's one item. This will be clear when you open the document.

    I've added a little checkbox bullet before each item, but you can remove it if you want. See screenshot of part of the page below:



    Please let me know if/when you download the file by replying here. I'm not going to leave the file on Dropbox forever, so grab it soon.

    If you don't have Pages, perhaps someone else can offer a simple/free solution.

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10 January 5, 2017