# How do I create separate columns in LaTeX without text flow?

I want to make a document with two columns, with each column separate. In other words, I have two separate columns in which I can type, without text flowing from one column to another. My desired use for this is to create 'Questions' on the left column and 'Answers' on the the right column. If there was also a way to align the questions with the corresponding answers, that would be great.

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## migrated from stackoverflow.comNov 5 '11 at 23:39

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Did you look at Independent left and right columns? – Ignasi Nov 8 '11 at 9:47

Parcolumns should work, but you need to wrap each question and answer in an environment to get good spacing:

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{parcolumns}
\newcommand{\question}[1]{\colchunk{\begin{description}\item[Q:]{#1}%
\end{description}}}
\end{description}}\colplacechunks}

\begin{document}
\begin{parcolumns}[colwidths={1=2 in},nofirstindent]{2}
%
\question{Lorem ipsum dolor?}
Nulla facilisi. Proin tortor turpis, sodales quis porttitor in.}
%
\question{Aliquam condimentum lectus et mauris elementum vitae commodo
libero aliquet. Integer quis lectus nec nunc viverra tempus?}
%
\question{Donec vitae nisi eu massa?}
%
\end{parcolumns}
\end{document}


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I've recently run across the paracol package on CTAN. It has some very nice features for synchronizing items in the columns. Here's a working example:

\documentclass[11pt]{article}
\usepackage[margin=1in]{geometry}
\usepackage{paracol}

\title{Q \& A example}
\author{John Q. Public}
\begin{document}
\maketitle
\begin{paracol}{2}[\section{Part I}]

\subsection*{Question: Age of earth} What is the estimated age of the
earth? Discuss geophysical or astronomical evidence that supports this
estimate.

\switchcolumn \subsection*{Answer: Age of earth} Current estimate suggest
the age of the earth is approx 4.5 BY. The key evidence for this estimate
includes...

\switchcolumn \subsection*{Question: Life on earth} What is the current
minimum estimate for how long life has existed on earth? Discuss the
paleontological evidence in support of this estimate...

\switchcolumn \subsection*{Answer: Life on earth} Current estimates place
the earliest signs of life in rocks of approx 3.8 BYA...

\end{paracol}
\end{document}

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An ugly solution could also be the following:

\documentclass{report}
\begin{document}
\begin{tabular}{p{0.5\textwidth}p{0.5\textwidth}}
Question 1
&

Question 2
&
\end{tabular}
\end{document}


It does the wrapping because I set the max width of each column, and the alignment because, well, it's a table.

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Nor sure if I have completely grasped exactly what you need to do...

If you do not need continuous flow of related text over page boundaries, and are using an editor like TeXworks TeX User Group TeXworks Editor ( Development version ) or similar that lets you work with the pdf previewer (Crtl Click in editor text or pdf)—I've use minipage environments for things like that in the past.

It helps also by keeping the distinct text segments positionally related to each other, and the areas can even be positioned, and of different widths.

There are also minipage options available.

\noindent\begin{minipage}{12cm}

blah blah

\end{minipage}
\hspace*{2mm}\begin{minipage}{5.1cm}

Blah blah

\end{minipage}

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