Word processor with parallel columns?


macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 21, 2010
Is there a word processor with the native ability to create parallel-column documents?

That is, each column operates independently. When the first column of page 1 is full it continues in the first column of page 2 then the first column of page 3 and so on. Similarly the second column of page 1 continues in the second column of page 2. You get the idea.

So, is there a program that does this elegantly?


macrumors G3
Apr 9, 2010
Prescott Valley, AZ
I don't know of any word processors that do that natively but you can use Pages to make it work in a more manual method.

Create 2 columns of text boxes on the first page. Create an additional page with 2 columns of text boxes. Then link the left box on page #1 to the left box on page #2. Link the right box on page #1 to the right box on page #2. Repeat for as many pages that are needed.


macrumors 6502a
Feb 12, 2008
That was one of Framemaker’s strengths (you could set up the underlying document structure to automate the process). Sadly, Adobe cut all support of it to the Mac, and has been available only as Windows and Linux since April 2004.

As mentioned above, some page layout programs could follow the process manually (Independent columns in FM. Not sure about InDesign, as I no longer have it.

Not sure, but perhaps LaTeX could handle that. But the learning curve is steep.


macrumors 6502
Sep 28, 2009
Not sure about InDesign
I think you needed to buy a plug-in for Indesign - at least in the past and their doesn't seem to be a easy way of doing it now although there are worse jobs than linking frames. A quick look at the manual doesn't give any hints for ID.

Framemaker did do this, as mentioned, and for a big project might be worth it, although it is Windows only. I only have v8, newer versions look a little less 1990s and have more ePub compatibility. It is great for really long technical documents, but could really do with support for Endnote or Reference manager.


macrumors G5
Jun 27, 2007
In InDesign, you can create documents to do that. Not sure if there are automated ways, but I can do it easily manually.

Otherwise, insert a 2 column table in your Word document. Works fine on my Mac.