How to Make Columns in WordPress Without a Plugin

WordPress’ default block editor has revolutionized what users can do functionality-wise, without any external help from plugins — especially with the recent WordPress 5.5. Making columns is one of those capabilities.

To insert columns in your WordPress site without a plugin, in essence, you would need to leverage the default Gutenberg block editor. Obviously, there are 3rd party editors you can install, but in my opinion, that would defeat the purpose of this post, and the whole point of achieving this without additional outside help (other than what you get, with just WP).

How to Make Columns in WordPress Without a Plugin — Using the Standard WP Block Editor

In summary, there are two methods of inserting columns by using the pre-configured block editor.

Method 1: Using the ‘+’ Sign to Insert a Column Block (Screenshots Are Included Throughout, for Visual Reference)

Step 1: When you’re working on your post or a page, either from all the way on top (top-left), or within the post itself, hit the plus sign.

using the plus sign to insert a block in wordpress
To get started on inserting columns via the default WP block editor, hit the plus sign.

Step 2: Then, simply search for “column.” Doing so will enable you to look at all the available options for inputting different column types. Note that if you’re using the plus sign from within your editor, you’ll have to select browse all, to view all the choices. Alternatively, if you used the + sign from the top, you’d already have access to everything.

how to make columns in wordpress without a plugin: An image showing browse all option when searched for column
If you’re using the editor, remember to select “browse all” for all column choices.
trying to insert columns using the plus sign from the top
Alternatively, searching for column from the top ‘+’ sign will inherently give you all the choices already.

Step 3: Insert a Column Block or a Column Pattern

Just when you’re ready to insert a column, you’d have to decide between a block or patterns.

What is a column block?

This is where you’d have the power to fully customize your column the way you want. To get started, you’d have to pick between:

  1. 50/50: Two equally divided columns.
  2. 30/70: 30% of the width on the left column and 70% on the right.
  3. 70/30: ^reverse of above.
  4. 33/33/33: Three equally divided columns.
  5. 25/50/25: The first left column will contain 25% of the width, the middle one 50%, and the right-most with the remaining 25%.
  6. You can also decide to hit on skip, which would result in WP inserting a 50/50 column.
default column choices in WordPress
Default column block selections available in WP 5.5.

What are column patterns block?

Column patterns blocks are predefined columns you can use right off the bat, so that you don’t have to configure them further. WP has been more than kind to offer the following three column pattern blocks:

  1. Two columns of text
  2. Two columns of texts with images
  3. Three columns of texts with buttons

I suppose the decision to make these pattern blocks were likely based on the most commonly used column blocks. See the screenshot below for context.

column patterns in WordPress
Column patterns in WP. Scroll down just a bit further, to see the other two patterns.

Method 2: Using the Slash (/) Method

To create columns with this method, you do not have to use the ‘+’ sign. Instead, all you have to do is type–> “/columns” (without the quotes), and WordPress will add the predefined column block (not pattern). Look at the video for reference.

Notice how I am not clicking on the ‘+’ sign.

At that end of the day, this method is nothing but a shortcut to save 1 or 2 seconds, and saves you the trouble of searching for the “columns” block.

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Many WP users out there (myself included) believe in only using plugins when absolutely required or for situations when you don’t want to mess with the back-end (for super technical changes).

So, if you’ve ever wondered how to make columns in WordPress without a plugin, this is how! Although, plugins may provide some fantastic features and functionalities that the Gutenberg block editor simply cannot. If you fall into that category, then by all means, leverage one; otherwise, I’ve personally found the “columns” block being able to serve all my needs to my satisfaction.