flow 2 columns of text automatically with CSS

I have the code similar to the following:

<p>This is paragraph 1. Lorem ipsum ... </p>
<p>This is paragraph 2. Lorem ipsum ... </p>
<p>This is paragraph 3. Lorem ipsum ... </p>
<p>This is paragraph 4. Lorem ipsum ... </p>
<p>This is paragraph 5. Lorem ipsum ... </p>
<p>This is paragraph 6. Lorem ipsum ... </p>

I'd like to, without markup if possible, cause this text to flow into two columns (1-3 on the left, 4-6 on the right). The reason for my hesitation to add a column using a <div> is that this text is entered by the client via a WYSIWYG editor, so any elements I inject are likely to be killed later or inexplicably.

Answers:

Answer

Using jQuery

Create a second column and move over the elements you need into it.

<script type="text/javascript">
  $(document).ready(function() {
    var size = $("#data > p").size();
 $(".Column1 > p").each(function(index){
  if (index >= size/2){
   $(this).appendTo("#Column2");
  }
 });
  });
</script>

<div id="data" class="Column1" style="float:left;width:300px;">
<!--   data Start -->
<p>This is paragraph 1. Lorem ipsum ... </p>
<p>This is paragraph 2. Lorem ipsum ... </p>
<p>This is paragraph 3. Lorem ipsum ... </p>
<p>This is paragraph 4. Lorem ipsum ... </p>
<p>This is paragraph 5. Lorem ipsum ... </p>
<p>This is paragraph 6. Lorem ipsum ... </p>
<!--   data Emd-->
</div>
<div id="Column2" style="float:left;width:300px;"></div>

Update:

Or Since the requirement now is to have them equally sized. I would suggest using the prebuilt jQuery plugins: Columnizer jQuery Plugin

http://jsfiddle.net/dPUmZ/1/

Answer

Use CSS3

.container {
   -webkit-column-count: 2;
      -moz-column-count: 2;
           column-count: 2;

   -webkit-column-gap: 20px;
      -moz-column-gap: 20px;
           column-gap: 20px;
}

Browser Support

  • Chrome 4.0+ (-webkit-)
  • IE 10.0+
  • Firefox 2.0+ (-moz-)
  • Safari 3.1+ (-webkit-)
  • Opera 15.0+ (-webkit-)
Answer

Automatically floating two columns next to eachother is not currently possible only with CSS/HTML. Two ways to achieve this:

Method 1: When there's no continous text, just lots of non-related paragraphs:

Float all paragraphs to the left, give them half the width of the containing element and if possible set a fixed height.

<div id="container">
  <p>This is paragraph 1. Lorem ipsum ... </p>
  <p>This is paragraph 2. Lorem ipsum ... </p>
  <p>This is paragraph 3. Lorem ipsum ... </p>
  <p>This is paragraph 4. Lorem ipsum ... </p>
  <p>This is paragraph 5. Lorem ipsum ... </p>
  <p>This is paragraph 6. Lorem ipsum ... </p>
</div>

#container { width: 600px; }
#container p { float: left; width: 300px; /* possibly also height: 300px; */ }

You can also insert clearer-divs between paragraphs to avoid having to use a fixed height. If you want two columns, add a clearer-div between two-and-two paragraphs. This will align the top of the two next paragraphs, making it look more tidy. Example:

<div id="container">
  <p>This is paragraph 1. Lorem ipsum ... </p>
  <p>This is paragraph 2. Lorem ipsum ... </p>
  <div class="clear"></div>
  <p>This is paragraph 3. Lorem ipsum ... </p>
  <p>This is paragraph 4. Lorem ipsum ... </p>
  <div class="clear"></div>
  <p>This is paragraph 5. Lorem ipsum ... </p>
  <p>This is paragraph 6. Lorem ipsum ... </p>
</div>

/* in addition to the above CSS */
.clear { clear: both; height: 0; }

Method 2: When the text is continous

More advanced, but it can be done.

<div id="container">
  <div class="contentColumn">
    <p>This is paragraph 1. Lorem ipsum ... </p>
    <p>This is paragraph 2. Lorem ipsum ... </p>
    <p>This is paragraph 3. Lorem ipsum ... </p>
  </div>
  <div class="contentColumn">
    <p>This is paragraph 4. Lorem ipsum ... </p>
    <p>This is paragraph 5. Lorem ipsum ... </p>
    <p>This is paragraph 6. Lorem ipsum ... </p>
  </div>
</div>

.contentColumn { width: 300px; float: left; }
#container { width: 600px; }

When it comes to the ease of use: none of these are really easy for a non-technical client. You might attempt to explain to him/her how to do this properly, and tell him/her why. Learning very basic HTML is not a bad idea anyways, if the client is going to be updating the web pages via a WYSIWYG-editor in the future.

Or you could try to implement some Javascript-solution that counts the total number of paragraphs, splits them in two and creates columns. This will also degrade gracefully for those who have JavaScript disabled. A third option is to have all this splitting-into-columns-action happen serverside if this is an option.

(Method 3: CSS3 Multi-column Layout Module)

You might read about the CSS3 way of doing it, but it's not really practical for a production website. Not yet, at least.

Answer

Not an expert here, but this is what I did and it worked

<html>
<style>
/*Style your div container, must specify height*/
.content {width:1000px; height:210px; margin:20px auto; font-size:16px;}
/*Style the p tag inside your div container with half the with of your container, and float left*/
.content p {width:490px; margin-right:10px; float:left;}
</style>

<body>
<!--Put your text inside a div with a class-->
<div class="content">
            <h1>Title</h1>
            <p>Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Phasellus gravida laoreet lectus. Pellentesque ultrices consequat placerat. Etiam luctus euismod tempus. In sed eros dignissim tortor faucibus dapibus ut non neque. Ut ante odio, luctus eu pharetra vitae, consequat sit amet nunc. Aenean dolor felis, fringilla sagittis hendrerit vel, egestas eget eros. Mauris suscipit bibendum massa, nec mattis lorem dignissim sit amet. </p>
            <p>Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Integer eget dolor neque. Phasellus tellus odio, egestas ut blandit sed, egestas sit amet velit. Vestibulum ante ipsum primis in faucibus orci luctus et ultrices posuere cubilia Curae;</p>
</div>     
</body>
</html>

Once the text inside the <p> tags has reached the height of the container div, the other text will flow to the right of the container.

Answer

Below I have created both a static and dynamic approach at columnizing paragraphs. The code is pretty much self-documented.

Foreward

Below, you will find the following methods for creating columns:

  1. Static (2-columns)
  2. Dynamic w/ JavaScript + CSS (n-columns)
  3. Dynamic w/ JavaScript + CSS3 (n-columns)

Static (2-columns)

This is a simple 2 column layout. Based on Glennular's 1st answer.

$(document).ready(function () {
    var columns = 2;
    var size = $("#data > p").size();
    var half = size / columns;
    $(".col50 > p").each(function (index) {
        if (index >= half) {
            $(this).appendTo(".col50:eq(1)");
        }
    });
});
.col50 {
    display: inline-block;
    vertical-align: top;
    width: 48.2%;
    margin: 0;
}
<script src="https://ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/jquery/2.1.1/jquery.min.js"></script>
<div id="data" class="col50">
    <!-- data Start -->
    <p>This is paragraph 1. Lorem ipsum ...</p>
    <p>This is paragraph 2. Lorem ipsum ...</p>
    <p>This is paragraph 3. Lorem ipsum ...</p>
    <p>This is paragraph 4. Lorem ipsum ...</p>
    <p>This is paragraph 5. Lorem ipsum ...</p>
    <p>This is paragraph 6. Lorem ipsum ...</p>
    <p>This is paragraph 7. Lorem ipsum ...</p>
    <p>This is paragraph 8. Lorem ipsum ...</p>
    <p>This is paragraph 9. Lorem ipsum ...</p>
    <p>This is paragraph 10. Lorem ipsum ...</p>
    <p>This is paragraph 11. Lorem ipsum ...</p>
    <!-- data End-->
</div>
<div class="col50"></div>

Dynamic w/ JavaScript + CSS (n-columns)

With this approach, I essentially detect if the block needs to be converted to columns. The format is col-{n}. n is the number of columns you want to create.

$(document).ready(function () {
    splitByColumns('col-', 4);
});

function splitByColumns(prefix, gap) {
    $('[class^="' + prefix + '"]').each(function(index, el) {
        var me = $(this);
        var count = me.attr("class").split(' ').filter(function(className) {
            return className.indexOf(prefix) === 0;
        }).reduce(function(result, value) {
            return Math.max(parseInt(value.replace(prefix, '')), result);
        }, 0);
        var paragraphs = me.find('p').get();
        me.empty(); // We now have a copy of the children, we can clear the element.
        var size = paragraphs.length;
        var percent = 1 / count;
        var width = (percent * 100 - (gap / count || percent)).toFixed(2) + '%';
        var limit = Math.round(size / count);
        var incr = 0;
        var gutter = gap / 2 + 'px';
        for (var col = 0; col < count; col++) {
            var colDiv = $('<div>').addClass('col').css({ width: width });
            var css = {};
            if (col > -1 && col < count -1) css['margin-right'] = gutter;
            if (col > 0 && col < count)     css['margin-left'] = gutter;
            colDiv.css(css);
            for (var line = 0; line < limit && incr < size; line++) {
                colDiv.append(paragraphs[incr++]);
            }
            me.append(colDiv);
        }
    });
}
.col {
    display: inline-block;
    vertical-align: top;
    margin: 0;
}
<script src="https://ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/jquery/2.1.1/jquery.min.js"></script>
<div id="data" class="col-6">
    <!-- data Start -->
    <p>This is paragraph 1. Lorem ipsum ...</p>
    <p>This is paragraph 2. Lorem ipsum ...</p>
    <p>This is paragraph 3. Lorem ipsum ...</p>
    <p>This is paragraph 4. Lorem ipsum ...</p>
    <p>This is paragraph 5. Lorem ipsum ...</p>
    <p>This is paragraph 6. Lorem ipsum ...</p>
    <p>This is paragraph 7. Lorem ipsum ...</p>
    <p>This is paragraph 8. Lorem ipsum ...</p>
    <p>This is paragraph 9. Lorem ipsum ...</p>
    <p>This is paragraph 10. Lorem ipsum ...</p>
    <p>This is paragraph 11. Lorem ipsum ...</p>
    <!-- data End-->
</div>

Dynamic w/ JavaScript + CSS3 (n-columns)

This has been derived from on Glennular's 2nd answer. It uses the column-count and column-gap CSS3 rules.

$(document).ready(function () {
    splitByColumns('col-', '4px');
});

function splitByColumns(prefix, gap) {
    var vendors = [ '', '-moz', '-webkit-' ];
    var getColumnCount = function(el) {
        return el.attr("class").split(' ').filter(function(className) {
            return className.indexOf(prefix) === 0;
        }).reduce(function(result, value) {
            return Math.max(parseInt(value.replace(prefix, '')), result);
        }, 0);
    }
    $('[class^="' + prefix + '"]').each(function(index, el) {
        var me = $(this);
        var count = getColumnCount(me);
        var css = {};
        $.each(vendors, function(idx, vendor) {
            css[vendor + 'column-count'] = count;
            css[vendor + 'column-gap'] = gap;
        });
        me.css(css);
    });
}
<script src="https://ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/jquery/2.1.1/jquery.min.js"></script>
<div id="data" class="col-3">
    <!-- data Start -->
    <p>This is paragraph 1. Lorem ipsum ...</p>
    <p>This is paragraph 2. Lorem ipsum ...</p>
    <p>This is paragraph 3. Lorem ipsum ...</p>
    <p>This is paragraph 4. Lorem ipsum ...</p>
    <p>This is paragraph 5. Lorem ipsum ...</p>
    <p>This is paragraph 6. Lorem ipsum ...</p>
    <p>This is paragraph 7. Lorem ipsum ...</p>
    <p>This is paragraph 8. Lorem ipsum ...</p>
    <p>This is paragraph 9. Lorem ipsum ...</p>
    <p>This is paragraph 10. Lorem ipsum ...</p>
    <p>This is paragraph 11. Lorem ipsum ...</p>
    <!-- data End-->
</div>

Answer

This solution will split into two columns and divide the content half in one line half in the other. This comes in handy if you are working with data that gets loaded into the first column, and want it to flow evenly every time. :). You can play with the amount that gets put into the first col. This will work with lists as well.

Enjoy.

<html>
<head>
<title>great script for dividing things into cols</title>



    <script type="text/javascript" src="http://ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/jquery/1.3.2/jquery.js"></script>
    <script>
$(document).ready(function(){

var count=$('.firstcol span').length;
var selectedIndex =$('.firstcol span').eq(count/2-1);
var selectIndexafter=selectedIndex.nextAll();


if (count>1)
{
selectIndexafter.appendTo('.secondcol');
}

 });

</script>
<style>
body{font-family:arial;}
.firstcol{float:left;padding-left:100px;}
.secondcol{float:left;color:blue;position:relative;top:-20;px;padding-left:100px;}
.secondcol h3 {font-size:18px;font-weight:normal;color:grey}
span{}
</style>

</head>
<body>

<div class="firstcol">

<span>1</span><br />
<span>2</span><br />
<span>3</span><br />
<span>4</span><br />
<span>5</span><br />
<span>6</span><br />
<span>7</span><br />
<span>8</span><br />
<span>9</span><br />
<span>10</span><br />
<!--<span>11</span><br />
<span>12</span><br />
<span>13</span><br />
<span>14</span><br />
<span>15</span><br />
<span>16</span><br />
<span>17</span><br />
<span>18</span><br />
<span>19</span><br />
<span>20</span><br />
<span>21</span><br />
<span>22</span><br />
<span>23</span><br />
<span>24</span><br />
<span>25</span><br />-->
</div>


<div class="secondcol">


</div>


</body>

</html>
Answer

Maybe a slightly tighter version? My use case is outputting college majors given a json array of majors (data).

var count_data      = data.length;

$.each( data, function( index ){
    var column = ( index < count_data/2 ) ? 1 : 2;
    $("#column"+column).append(this.name+'<br/>');
});

<div id="majors_view" class="span12 pull-left">

  <div class="row-fluid">
    <div class="span5" id="column1"> </div>
    <div class="span5 offset1" id="column2"> </div>
  </div>

</div>
Answer

Here is an example of a simple Two-column class:

.two-col {
       -moz-column-count: 2;
       -moz-column-gap: 20px;
       -webkit-column-count: 2;
       -webkit-column-gap: 20px;
}

Of which you would apply to a block of text like so:

<p class="two-col">Text</p>

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