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The PreTeXt Guide

Subsection 4.11.5 Lists in Columns

You can control the number of columns used to layout an ordered or unordered list (but not a description list). On the <ol> or <ul> use a @cols attribute with values 2 through 6. (1 is the default.)
We do not yet (2018-03-28) have enough technical confidence to allow an author to specify a row-major order versus a column-major order for the layout. So understand that this is can be an implementation choice for a particular conversion, and can vary across implementations. If this is critical to conveying meaning, and not an aesthetic preference, then maybe consider using a <table> or <tabular> (Section 4.18).

Best Practice Use Only a Few Columns for Lists.

Anything more than three columns tends to get very crowded horizontally. Think twice about using more than that, and realize that six columns should be a ridiculously generous upper limit, and not a promise of good behavior in final output.