I am writing an article with a multicol setting.


The text is organized in 2 columns.


Can I adjust the width of the text columns?

Any advise would be helpful..




2 Answers 2


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


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, 2015 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. Dec 10, 2015 at 15:16
  • THX again for all the help!!! Dec 10, 2015 at 15:21

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