How to read a multi-column document on-screen?

Multiple columns are easier to read – especially when printed. That is a good thing. But when we have to read a multiple column document on-screen, it becomes more cumbersome. Here is how you can simplify the reading.

Please note. This article covers only PCs, Laptops and Tablets running Windows7. It does not cover reading on mobile phones.


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Why do we still print documents?

Recently I was presenting to a very senior banker. Efficiency, collaboration, unstructured work optimization and so on. He asked me a simple question… “Doctor, I agree with whatever you are showing. But I personally still ask my secretary to print the documents and I read them the traditional way. Many other colleagues also do the same thing. Are we doing something wrong?”

A very pertinent and genuine question which many people may have in their minds. In this article I address this question and provide a practical approach.

The short answer is this: People still print and read documents because nobody has shown them how to read documents effectively on screen. Having this knowledge will not eliminate printing. But at least you have two options to choose from – based upon your own discretion and the context.

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How to read a document containing highlights?

Sounds simple. Just scroll down and read the highlighted text. Yes – that works.

But you have to keep scrolling to find the next highlight. It may be one page away or 24 pages away… not very efficient!

Here is the right way.

Make sure you have a document which contains many areas highlighted.

Press SNAGHTML12a17eb9 to go to the beginning of the document.

Press SNAGHTML12a1dc69 to open the Find Replace dialog

Click on the Find tab click inside the Find What textbox and click on More button…


Click on Formatting … button to open the drop down


Choose Highlights

Click Find next button. Now first highlight will be found.

Press SNAGHTML12a514ff to get rid of the dialog

Now we want to move to the next highlight

Press   SNAGHTML12a704e8  to move to next highlight

SNAGHTML12a7f8edto go to previous one.

By the way, this shortcut works for anything you have just FOUND using the Find dialog.

15 year old feature. Did you know it? Did you need it?

Not discovering what you need,
in spite of having it right in front of you is called INEFFICIENCY Angry smile