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Multiple Columns

We're starting an online magazine, and would like to know if it is possible with CD for our articles to appear in two columns rather than one.... Our best hope is to have the columns automatically of equal length, no matter what the length of the article, and we realize that for a long article, readers may need to scroll down to get to the borrom of the left column, and then scroll back up to get to the top of the right column.

Is this possible, and if so, how? Thanks!

Micah D. Rubenstein
Monday, September 1, 2003

If you really do hate your users that much, you can probably find a way to do it using CSS. Try doing a Google search for "CSS snaking columns".

Darren Collins
Monday, September 1, 2003

I don't think it's really possible; this is a limitation of HTML and it's really dreadfully inappropriate in a web page.

That said, the only site I've ever seen that has gotten this working on a web page in any way, shape or form is the International Herald Tribune ( -- go into any of the articles. You'll have to study their HTML source code to see how they did it...

Joel Spolsky
Tuesday, September 2, 2003

There are several reasons that a newspaper uses "snaking columns" for their articles.

One of them is that the brain is having a hard time reading large blocks of text, particularly when they're very wide. It's easy loosing track of where you are on which line when you have to scan sidewise all the time.

Having narrowed the article, the second reason is of course space. You wouldn't want to make a newspaper only one column wide.

However, on the web, you can easily make sure the webpage isn't too wide, and use as much space downwards as you need, so you really shouldn't be thinking "newspaper layout" when publishing for the web.

Lasse Vågsæther Karlsen
Wednesday, September 3, 2003

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