# Forcing separation of content in two columns

I've been using the multicol package lately because I was trying to typeset content in two columns and I like minimalist solutions.

However I've been having trouble trying to force content to stay in one of the two columns only. But I've seen this behavior occurring:

• If the left column is shorter than a page, using \columnbreak is enough and it will force the rest of the content to the right column. For example: How do I force a column-break in a multi-column page?
• If the content is longer than a page, though, using this command won't bring any results (except for the last page/part of the content). The command is ignored, and the first column will use the second until the first condition is satisfied again, i.e. the content is shorter than a page.

How can I force the content to stick to the first (left) column until \columnbreak (or a similar command) is issued and only then start at the top of the second column? Or am I using the wrong package for this sort of task?

• If you use multicolumn you want the * form so it doesn't balance the columns, but that is the main point of the package, for what you describe you would be better with the standard [twocolumn] option. – David Carlisle Sep 14 '13 at 14:40
• @DavidCarlisle Thanks. I've seen that package being mentioned before but I can't find a page or documentation for it. Do you mind writing a very short example of how to use that package as an answer? – Alenanno Sep 14 '13 at 14:46
• I meant don't use a package at all, just use the standard twocolumn system built into latex. \documentclass[twocolumn]{article}... – David Carlisle Sep 14 '13 at 14:49
• @DavidCarlisle Ah I see, but wouldn't that divide my whole document into two columns? I only need this for parts of text. – Alenanno Sep 14 '13 at 14:50
• use \onecolumn and \twocolumn commands to switch – David Carlisle Sep 14 '13 at 14:50

You can try the paracol package.

Example:

\documentclass{article}

\usepackage[latin]{babel}  %only for the example
\usepackage{lipsum}        %only for the example

\usepackage{paracol}

\begin{document}

\begin{paracol}{2}

\lipsum[1-2]

\lipsum[1-2]

\switchcolumn

\lipsum[1-2]

\end{paracol}

\end{document}


Output:

You might also take a look at the CTAN topic parallel where you can find similar packages.

• @Alenanno you're welcome. Happy to help. – karlkoeller Sep 14 '13 at 16:02