Insert, delete, or change a section break

Sections let you set specific page layout and formatting options (such as line numbering, columns, or headers and footers) for different parts of a document. By using sections, for example, you can format the introduction of a report as a single column, and then format the body of the report as two columns. Word treats a document as a single section until you insert a section break.

 Tip   To display section breaks and other nonprinting characters, on the Standard toolbar, click Show all nonprinting characters Show all non-printing characters .

Document that contains section breaks

 Callout 1 Section formatted as a single column

 Callout 2 Section break that controls the layout and formatting of the preceding section identified by 1

 Callout 3 Section formatted as two columns

 Callout 4 Section break that controls the layout and formatting of the preceding section identified by 3

Each section break (section break: A mark that you insert to end a section. A section break stores the section formatting elements, such as margins, page orientation, headers and footers, and the sequence of page numbers. A section break appears as a double dotted line with the words "Section Break.") controls the layout and formatting of the section previous to the break. For example, if you delete a section break, the text previous to the break acquires all the formatting of the section that follows the break. For example, in the illustration that was mentioned earlier, if you delete the first section break (2), the first section is formatted as two columns. The last paragraph mark (paragraph mark: The nonprinting symbol that Word inserts when you press RETURN at the end of a paragraph. The paragraph mark stores the formatting that you apply to a paragraph.) (¶) in the document controls the section layout and formatting of the last section in the document. If the document does not contain sections, the last paragraph mark controls the layout and formatting of the entire document.

 Important   The following procedures assume that you are in print layout view. If you are not in print layout view, on the View menu, click Print Layout.

Do any of the following:

ShowInsert a section break

  1. In the document, click where you want to insert a section break.
  2. On the Layout tab, under Page Setup, click Break, and then click the kind of section break that you want.

Word Layout tab, Page Setup group

The following table shows examples of the types of section breaks that you can insert. In each illustration, the double-dotted line represents a section break.

Section break type Description
Next page

Inserts a section break and starts the new section on the next page.

Document that contains next page section break

Continuous

Inserts a section break and starts the new section on the same page.

Document that contains continuous section break

Even page

Inserts a section break and starts the new section on the next even-numbered page.

Document that contains even section break

Odd page

Inserts a section break and starts the new section on the next odd-numbered page.

Document that contains odd page section break

ShowDelete a section break

  1. Click before the section break that you want to delete.

If you don't see the section break, on the Standard toolbar, click Show button.

  1. Press Delete.

If your keyboard does not have a Delete  key, hold down SHIFT and press the right arrow key  Arrow, and then press DELETE .

 Note   When you delete a section break, you also delete the section formatting for the text in the section before the break. That text becomes part of the following section, and takes on all section formatting, including margins.

ShowChange the kind of section break

  1. Click in the section that you want to change.
  2. On the Format menu, click Document, and then click the Layout tab.
  3. On the Section start pop-up menu, click the kind of section break that you want.

See also

Control pagination

My document contains unwanted page breaks

Add or remove page numbers

 
 
Applies to:
Word for Mac 2011