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Section Breaks in Word

SECTION BREAKS IN WORD

Applies to:  Word 2016, Word 2013, Word 2010, Word 2007, Word 2003

Section breaks in Word are vital to grasp if you are creating long documents with different headers and footers, mixing portrait and landscape or working with different numbers of columns.

There are two main types of section break:

  • Next page
  • Continuous

You can also choose to start a Next Page break on an Even Page or Odd Page.  This is useful if you are doing doubled-sided (duplex) printing and always want the new section to start on the front of the page rather than the reverse side.

NEXT PAGE SECTION BREAKS

Next Page Section breaks are always required in a document that has different headers and footers or a mixture of portrait and landscape because these features are page formatting features.  Page formatting features are features that can only be applied to whole pages rather than paragraphs or selected  text.

CONTINUOUS SECTION BREAKS

You need to use Continuous Section breaks if you want to change the column layout from one to more or vice versa on the same page (see later)

HOW TO SET UP A SECTION BREAK IN WORD

  • Place the cursor where you want the section break to occur

Word 2003

Step 1

From the Insert tab

Step 2

Click Break

Step 3

From Section break types

Word 2007

Step 1

From the Page Layout tab

Step 2

In the Page Setup group

Step 3

Click the down arrow to the right of Breaks

Step 4

From Section breaks

Word 2010

Step 1

From the Page Layout tab

Step 2

In the Page Setup group

Step 3

Click the down arrow to the right of Breaks

Step 4

From Section breaks

Word 2013

Step 1

From the Layout tab

Step 2

In the Page Setup group

Step 3

Click the down arrow to the right of Breaks

Step 4

From Section breaks

Word 2016

Step 1

From the Layout tab

Step 2

In the Page Setup group

Step 3

Click the down arrow to the right of Breaks

Step 4

From Section Breaks

  • Select Next Page or Continuous

Note: Like the Page break, a Section break does not show in your document when you are editing it unless you have the Show/Hide feature turned on.

Section Breaks Marker

USING SECTION BREAKS IN WORD TO SET UP DIFFERENT HEADERS AND FOOTERS

Sometimes in a document you need particular headers or footers at certain points in the document.  The most common situation is perhaps when you wish to add an appendix with its own page numbering, or a series of schedules in legal work.  Or you may wish to divide your document into Chapters or other types of section, each with their own page numbering starting again from 1.

Note: if you only need the first page to be different (for example if you don’t want the first page of a letter or report to have a number) you don’t need to set up a section break – there is a special Different first page feature.  Similarly, if you need odd and even pages to have different headers and footers there is a special Different odd and even feature for that.

SET UP DIFFERENT HEADERS OR FOOTERS

  • Insert your Next Page section break
  • Go to the Header (or Footer) at the top (or bottom) of your first page in order to edit your 1st section Header (or Footer)
First Section Header

{Word 2016 example)

  • Type the text of your Header (or Footer) or insert a page number,  date or document info option e.g. filename
  • Go to the top (or bottom) of the first page of the next section:

Word 2003

Step 1

From the pop-up Header and Footer Design toolbar

Step 2

Click image Show Next

Word 2007

Step 1

From the Design tab under Header and Footer Tools

Step 2

In the Navigation group

Step 3

Click Next

Word 2010

Step 1

From the Design tab under Header and Footer Tools

Step 2

In the Navigation group

Step 3

Click Next

Word 2013

Step 1

From the Design tab under Header and Footer Tools

Step 2

In the Navigation group

Step 3

Click Next

Word 2016

Step 1

From the Design tab under Header and Footer Tools

Step 2

In the Navigation group

Step 3

Click Next

  • Break the link with the previous section by clicking Link to Previous
  • Type in your Header (or Footer) for the current section
  • Repeat from Step 1 for each section in your document

USING SECTION BREAKS IN WORD TO ADD A LANDSCAPE PAGE TO A PORTRAIT DOCUMENT (AND VICE VERSA)

When mixing landscape and portrait pages in a document you need to use Next Page section breaks each time you change:

  • Place your cursor where you want to change from landscape to portrait {or vice versa)
  • Insert a Next Page section break
  • Select your Page Orientation, Landscape or Portrait

USING SECTION BREAKS IN WORD TO SET UP MORE COLUMNS

When you want to set up two columns or more on the same page of your document (i.e. without starting a new page) you need to use a Continuous Page section break:

  • Place your cursor where you want to change the number of columns on your page
  • Insert a Continuous Page section break
  • Go ahead and select the number of columns you want

To change back to a single column, repeat the above steps, selecting One column at the last step.

Mixed columns on page

DELETE A SECTION BREAK IN WORD

To delete a section break you first need to click the Show/Hide button (from the Home tab) to reveal the paragraph symbols and Section Break markers.

Then click in the left margin to select (highlight) the whole Section Break marker and press the Delete key (Del) or the Backspace Delete key:

Section Break Next Page

Section Break (Next Page) showing “Show/Hide” symbol at beginning

MOVE A SECTION BREAK IN WORD

You can move a section break by selecting it as above and cutting and pasting it but… beware! It may change the format of your document unexpectedly.

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