Idocs Guide to HTML

<MULTICOL ...>

  • COLS: how many columns
  • GUTTER: space between columns
 
  • WIDTH: width of a single column

<MULTICOL ...> is one of those interesting special effects from Netscape that is more likely to detract from the page than add to it. <MULTICOL ...> creates columns across the screen. The text flows from one column to the next like in a newspaper. This tends to make the web page more difficult to read, but this tag has a few good uses we'll discuss below.

In its most basic use, <MULTICOL ...> uses just the COLS attribute indicate how many columns across.

<MULTICOL COLS=3>
Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by 
her sister on the bank and of having nothing to 
do: once or twice she had peeped into the book her 
sister was reading, but it had no pictures or 
conversations in it, `and what is the use of a book,' 
thought Alice, `without pictures or conversations?' 
</MULTICOL>

gives us

Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the bank and of having nothing to do: once or twice she had peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in it, `and what is the use of a book,' thought Alice, `without pictures or conversations?'

To put a little more space between the columns to make it more readable use either the WIDTH attribute, which controls the width of a single column, or the GUTTER attribute, which controls the space between columns. I recommend not using both attributes, because they interact. (If you really want to make the page more readable, you may wish to consider not using <MULTICOL ...> at all.)

One popular use for <MULTICOL ...> is to compact lists which are long and not wide:

<MULTICOL COLS=3>
<UL>
<LI><A HREF="home.html">Home Page</A>
<LI><A HREF="idocs.html">Idocs</A>
<LI><A HREF="magenta.html">Magenta</A>
<LI><A HREF="html.html">HTML</A>
<LI><A HREF="scripting.html">scripting</A>
<LI><A HREF="rrr.html">waste reduction</A>
<LI><A HREF="communities.html">communities</A>
<LI><A HREF="veggie.html">vegetarianism</A>
<LI><A HREF="perl.html">Perl</A>
<LI><A HREF="space.html">space</A>
</UL>
</MULTICOL>

gives us this list which uses the vertical space on the screen:

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