(Legacy) Microsoft Word 2007: Working with Section Breaks

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This article is based on legacy software.

Section breaks give you additional options for formatting your documents. Especially with lengthy documents, you can have multiple headers or footers or different page orientation. This document will help you understand what section breaks are and how you might use them in your documents.

Comparing Page Breaks and Section Breaks

Both page breaks and section breaks can be used to add a page; however, section breaks offer more options and more flexibility for formatting.

For more information on page breaks, refer to Inserting Page Breaks in the Page Formatting Options document.

Page BreaksSection BreaksAdds the next, consecutive pageCan be used to add another page: the next consecutive, the next odd-numbered, or the next even-numbered pageRetains the page formatting of the previous page (e.g., margins, orientation)Can be formatted differently from the previous text or page (e.g., columns, margins, orientation)

When to Use Section Breaks

Use a section break when you want:

  • different headers or footers for certain pages
    EXAMPLE: You want to number your table of contents with Roman numerals (i, ii) and the main text with Arabic numerals (1, 2).

  • one or more pages in landscape orientation
    EXAMPLE: Your main text is on pages with portrait orientation, but you have a wide table of data that fits best with the page sideways (landscape). Then you want to follow with more text on pages with portrait orientation.

  • multiple main sections or chapters in one document to each start on an odd-numbered page.

  • a certain amount or section of text displayed in columns, while the rest of your text is in a single column.

Types of Section Breaks

There are four types of section breaks. Each offers a different option for formatting in your document.

Next Page
Inserts a new page or continues text on the next consecutive page.

Starts a new section without adding a page. A common use of this type of section break is for columns.

Even Page
Inserts a new even-numbered page or continues text on the next even-numbered page.

Odd Page
Inserts a odd-numbered new page or continues text on the next odd-numbered page.

Adding a Section Break

  1. Place your insertion point where you want the section break to appear

  2. From the Page Layout command tab, in the Page Setup section, click BREAKS breaks button» select the desired section break
    The section break appears at the insertion point.

Removing a Section Break

Section breaks are easily removed. Formatting for pages reverts to the previous section/page formatting.

Removing a Section Break: Next, Even or Odd Page

  1. On the Home tab, in the Paragraph section, click SHOW/HIDE ¶

  2. Place your insertion point just before the section break
    insertion sections break

  3. Press [Delete]

Removing a Section Break: Continuous

Continuous section breaks frequently occur in pairs (e.g., to begin and end columnar formatting). In those cases, it is important to remove both section breaks.

  1. On the Home tab, in the Paragraph section, click SHOW/HIDE ¶

  2. Place your insertion point just before the first section break
    HINT: This is the section break that begins the section (and related formatting).
    sections break that begins the section

  3. Press [Delete]
    NOTE: The formatting of your document will appear disordered until you remove the second section break.

  4. Place your insertion point just before the second section break
    HINT: This is the section break that ends the section (and related formatting).
    section break that ends the section

  5. Press [Delete]

Section Breaks Illustrated

Section Break: Odd Page

The following shows an Odd Page section break. Notice the page numbering. The section break occurs on page one, continuing the text on page 3.

odd page section

Section Break: Continuous

The following shows a Continuous section break used to create columns.

continuous sections break