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Is it possible to specify different column widths in a multicol environment? For example, in a two column layout, can the left column be set to twice the width of the right column?

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No, as in most TeX column/page breaking the text is first set into an (essentially) infinite scroll and only later that scroll is chopped in to columns of the right length, there is no feedback from the column/page splitting to the line breaking. –  David Carlisle Jan 7 '13 at 13:03
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if you do not need a pagebreak than you can use a tabularx. –  Herbert Jan 7 '13 at 13:18
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Possibly the flowfram package is what you're looking for. –  egreg Jan 7 '13 at 13:33
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If all else fails, I can add this as an option to the pullquote package ;-) –  Stephan Lehmke Jan 7 '13 at 13:42
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1 Answer 1

up vote 12 down vote accepted

For a single page the package vwcol (vari­able-width mul­ti­ple text columns) make is what you're looking for.

 \documentclass{article} 
 \usepackage[margin=2cm]{geometry}
 \usepackage{lipsum}
 \usepackage{microtype}
 \usepackage{vwcol}  
 \begin{document} 
 \begin{vwcol}[widths={0.6,0.4},
 sep=.8cm, justify=flush,rule=0pt,indent=1em] 
 \lipsum[1-8] 
 \end{vwcol} 
 \end{document} 

MWE1

For multiple pages the suggested flowfram package can help, but mostly with columns (frames) of different heights and places but the same width. Unfortunately the width of a paragraph cannot be changed when jump to a column of different width (the change in \hsize will not come into effect until the end of the paragraph), so it must be simulate a paragraph break with \framebreak or specified the exact point where the text paragraphs jump to the next column (with \newpage or pagebrak[4] or \finishthispage in the last column).

In the next example, the capture show when the first \newpage is commented to explain the problem (otherwise the ouput is roughly similar to the first example, but the columns are not balanced in this case).

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage[margin=2cm]{geometry}
\usepackage{flowfram}
\usepackage{lipsum}
\usepackage{microtype}

\newflowframe[1-5]
{0.60\textwidth}{\textheight}
{0pt}{0pt}[leftcolumn]

\newflowframe[1-5]{0.30\textwidth}{\textheight}
{0.65\textwidth}{0pt}[rightcolumn]

\begin{document}
\lipsum[1-5]
\newpage 
\lipsum[6-8]
\newpage
\lipsum[9-12]
\end{document}

MWE2

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