# Can I specify the width of the text columns in multicol?

I am writing an article with a multicol setting.

\usepackage{multicol}
\setlength{\columnsep}{0.5cm}


The text is organized in 2 columns.

\begin{multicols}{2}


Can I adjust the width of the text columns?

THX

LA

• You can adjust columnsep which then adjusts the width of the columns. What adjustment do you wish to make? – David Carlisle Dec 9 '15 at 14:23
• If you want to have different columns with different widths, you will need to use paracol or flowfram. You may also have problems changing widths in the middle of a paragraph. – John Kormylo Dec 9 '15 at 17:02
• I was working on a preset environment which was giving me issues, as mentioned below I used the preset argument from the BMC journals and now looks much better.. Yet, all these info are super-useful. Really Appreciate the help! – Lavinia Alberi Dec 10 '15 at 15:25

It is possible to make columns of different width appear in what multicols produces as result. Set \columnsep to a negative number:

\setlength{\columnsep}{-2.5cm}


Assuming two columns, this definition will translate the right column to the left over the left column. If the left column's content is narrower than the column's width, then the resulting columns are of unequal width, without overlap of their content.

multicols calculates the column width as

( \linewidth - (n-1) * \columnsep ) / n


where n is the requested number of columns. \linewidth is usually the same as \textwidth unless you are inside a box or inside some of the display environments suchas quote or itemize where it is smaller. So to influence the column width within a multicols environment you can either change the \columnsep or provide a suitable \linewidth prior to starting the environment.

In any case all columns with have the same width as otherwise balancing wouldn't work (which is the main purpose of multicols.

• ...and you'll have issues with paragraphs spanning the column break if the column widths differ. – Werner Dec 9 '15 at 20:12
• Thanks for providing all these information so swiftly. It's going to be super helpful for future documents with a two columns text. For the manuscript, I have eventually found a pre-embedded setting for the \documentclass [twocolumn] {bmcart}. Was kind of hidden...It's my first article in Latex, guess I will get this through trial and error. – Lavinia Alberi Dec 10 '15 at 15:16
• THX again for all the help!!! – Lavinia Alberi Dec 10 '15 at 15:21