Word Page Breaks and Section Breaks or How To Make Your Text Stay Put
Updated: Jun 23
Are you confused about page breaks and section breaks in Word? What are they for? What's the difference between them? How to insert and delete them? Read on and all your questions will be answered. Or check the infographic at the end if you are in a rush.
Page breaks are used when you don't want to add any more content to a certain page. For example, when you are starting a new section of a report or a new chapter of a book.
It can also be used when you don't have enough space on the current page to insert, let's say, a table. You add a page break and insert your table on the following page.
I bet that you have been pressing the enter key until a new page comes up, haven't you? 😊
Don't do this. Why? Because, as you keep writing your text, it will, at some point, move up. And you will notice it when you are already rushing to finish that report, or worse, when you have already sent it to the client.
The right way to do it is to insert a page break after the last line of text. You go to the Insert tab and then choose Page Break or press Ctrl + Enter. This way you are sure that your text will stay in place.
And how do you delete a page break? You need to click on show/hide paragraph mark ¶; select the page break; press delete.
Section breaks allow you to make format changes to specific pages of your document that otherwise wouldn't be possible. To add a section break you go to Page Layout and then Breaks. Keep reading for more details.
Change page orientation
You may need to change the orientation of a page or pages at some point in your document. Maybe you have a table that is better displayed on a landscape page, for example.
How do you do this?
You add a section break − next page at the end of the last page with the current orientation; then, you change the orientation of the following page(s) as you wish. If you want to change the page orientation again you need to repeat the process.
Another use for section breaks is if, for example, you are writing a report with several sections and you want the header to show the title of the current section. This means that you'll have different headers throughout the document.
In order to achieve this, you need to add section breaks each time you want to change the header. At the end of the last page of the current section, you insert a section break − next page. Don't forget to switch off the 'link to previous' button in the ribbon, or any change you make to the header will apply to every page.
Applying page limits
The logic here is similar to the previous examples. Add a section break − next page at the end of the last page before the one where you want to apply the limits and add another section break − next page at the end of the last page with limits applied.
Changing the number of columns
If you want to change the number of columns from a certain point forward on a page you add a section break − same page.
How to delete a section break?
Click on show/hide paragraph mark ¶; select the section break; press delete.
And this is all you need to know about page breaks and section breaks to make your text stay put. See them as road blocks that prevent it from moving around. And your headers won't change mysteriously either. 😉
Below, you have all this information summarised in a handy infographic. Click with your right mouse button over it and save it for later. Or if you're really nice, share it with your friends.