Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Adding a Break to Your Document.

Adding a Break to Your Document

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated March 8, 2022)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365


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As you are typing in Word, you will notice the program automatically keeps track of where you are. When your document no longer fits on a single page, Word automatically inserts a page break (indicated by a thin dashed line when viewing your document in Normal view) and wraps your text to the next page.

There may be times, however, when you want to insert a break in your text manually. Word supports the following types of breaks:

  • Page breaks. Causes the following text to begin at the top of the next page.
  • Column breaks. Causes the following text to begin at the top of the next column. (If there is only one column in your page layout, the column break functions the same as a page break.)
  • Section breaks. Causes the following text to begin a new section of your document. Where the actual break occurs depends on the type of section break you use. There are four different types of section breaks that can be inserted in your document.
  • Text-wrapping breaks. These breaks are closely akin to line breaks (Shift+Enter). A text-wrapping break breaks a line of text and moves the text to the next line. This type of break is intended for use with text that wraps around graphics.

To insert a break in your document, follow these steps:

  1. Position the insertion point at the position where you want to insert the break.
  2. Display the Page Layout tab of the ribbon or Layout tab (Word 2016 or a later version).
  3. Click the Breaks tool, in the Page Setup group. Word displays a list of breaks you can insert.
  4. Click the type of break you want to insert.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (6703) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Adding a Break to Your Document.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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What is eight more than 2?

2018-07-09 08:51:26

Jennifer Thomas

Bob, one concept that may help you is to understand that breaks of any kind allow you to have different Page Setup options (e.g. margins) in different parts of the document.

So a page break overrides the bottom margin setting, while a column or text break overrides the right/left margin settings.

For section breaks: if 'page' is in the break's name, you'll be able to have different header and footer settings as well as things like line numbering in that section of the document; continuous breaks let you have multiple sets of left and right margins from side to side, and those are often used in conjunction with text or column breaks (columns are the same as tables for this function).

Try looking at the various labels of the breaks with that foundational concept in mind and see if it makes more sense now - I hope so!


2018-07-07 05:48:20

Bob Eisenberg

Please explain the different types of breaks in detail


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