Give Me A Break!

Give Me A Break!

Since we’re all here for the same reason—to find out all about MS Word’s section breaks—I’ll get right to the “how to”.

The most obvious step is to have a Word file open that would benefit from having different sections.

Once your file is open you’ll need to place your cursor at the point where you want to create a section break.

Now use the Insert menu, Break choice.

The Break window will open giving you a list of choices.


For section breaks you’re looking at the bottom where you’ll find four choices.

  • The Next Page choice “inserts a section break and breaks the page so that the next section starts at the top of the next page”.
  • The Continuous choice “inserts a section break and start the new section immediately, without inserting a page break”.
  • The Even Page choice “inserts a section break and starts the next section on the next even-numbered page. If the section break falls on an even-numbered page, Word leaves the next odd-numbered page blank.”
  • The Odd Page choice “inserts a section break and starts the next section on the next odd-numbered page. If the section break falls on an odd-numbered page, Word leaves the next even-numbered page blank.”

Those last two options could come in pretty handy for projects that will eventually be printed in a double-sided format. They can help when you always want the “chapters” to consistently start on the same side of the book.

Whatever choice you make, for whatever reasons, select one of the section break types and click OK.

If you chose a break that causes a new page then you’ll find your cursor on that new page when you’re returned to your document.

If you chose a continuous break then the document will look the same, but don’t be fooled, the break is there all the same.

If you’re looking to “see” the breaks then you’ll need to choose to show the formatting marks.

This can be accomplished a several different ways.

One way is to click the Show/Hide Paragraph button.


You could also try Ctrl + Shift + 8 (also labeled as Ctrl + * ).

And, last but not least, you could use the Tools menu, Options choice.


On the View tab find the Formatting section and select the All choice. Click OK.

Now your document should visibly include all your section breaks along with your paragraph breaks caused by the Enter key, the Tab keystrokes, spaces, etc.

To hide the formatting marks then either click the button again, use Ctrl + Shift + 8 again or return to the Options window and uncheck the All choice.

There’s just one more thing before we go…

When you start trying to change formatting within a section you need to pay attention to one extra detail.

Be sure to place your cursor within the section to be formatted and then proceed with your formatting.

Wait! Don’t hit the OK button just yet.

Before you complete your formatting be sure to tell Word where to apply the formatting—i.e. the whole document, this section or this point forward.

Here’s a sample of that choice from the Page Setup window.


That’s it. Now you’re ready to handle paragraphs, pages and sections! Time to get busy with the formatting.

~ April

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