Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, and 2013. 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: Removing Breaks.

Removing Breaks

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated May 7, 2019)


Breaks are used quite often in a document to disrupt the normal contiguous flow of text. If you are in Draft view, breaks appear as lines extending the full width of your document window. The type of break is denoted by text in the middle of the line. For instance, column breaks appear as a thin dotted line, with the text "Column Break" in the middle of the dotted line.

Breaks are treated like any other characters in Word. If you want to delete a break, simply position the insertion point on the break and use any of the normal editing keys to delete it. Perhaps the quickest way to remove a break is to position the insertion point on the break and press the Del key.

If you are not working in Draft view, you may want to switch to that viewing mode. It is easier to edit many special characters (such as breaks) if you work in Draft view.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (9321) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Removing Breaks.

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. ...


Using the Spike to Edit

Most Word users are proficient in cutting and pasting text using the Clipboard. One of the lesser-known editing tools, ...

Discover More

Consistent Formatting Between Word Versions

When you upgrade from one version of Word to another, you may be surprised to find that your documents, all of a sudden, ...

Discover More

Understanding Conditional Formatting Conditions

Conditional formatting can be a great way to highlight specific information in your worksheets. This tip explains the ...

Discover More

Learning Made Easy! Quickly teach yourself how to format, publish, and share your content using Word 2013. With Step by Step, you set the pace, building and practicing the skills you need, just when you need them! Check out Microsoft Word 2013 Step by Step today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Understanding Hyphens and Dashes

Word provides you with three types of hyphens and two types of dashes that you can use in your documents. Understanding ...

Discover More

Making Highlighting Disappear when Typing

Select a highlighted word or phrase and start typing, and Word maintains the highlighting on what you enter. If this ...

Discover More

Turning Off Word's Second Guessing with Quote Marks

When you type quote marks in a document, Word normally changes them to Smart Quotes. They look better on a printout, but ...

Discover More

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.


If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is six minus 1?

2017-02-20 02:54:25


To remove all dotted lines, go to draft view, select all your text, cut it, and past it again (in draft view they will be removed). Thanks to Allen Wyatt for that tip.

2014-03-12 09:39:49

srivani a

Thank you so much Jennifer Thomas and Allen, for your tips. These were useful.

2014-03-11 09:01:27



The following tip should answer your question:


2014-03-11 08:48:19

Jennifer Thomas

srivani a - the formatting result is determined by where your insertion point is when you remove the page break because the removal applies the style of the paragraph that contains your insertion point to the paragraph that follows the page break.

Consider that if you insert a page break with the insertion point in a numbered list, Word inserts an empty paragraph with the numbered list formatting applied (it moves the formatting down).

It works the other way too; if your insertion point is within the page break when you delete, the following paragraph will take on the style of the page break (it moves the formatting up).

So the real trick it to pay attention to where the insertion point is when you delete - try it out with the insertion point in different paragraphs & you'll see what I mean! Hope that helps.

2014-03-11 00:50:50

srivani a

When ever i try to remove page breaks, the formatting especially with regard to ordered and unordered list in the entire section goes haywire. How do i remove the page breaks without any unwanted change in the formatting?

2014-03-10 09:59:05

Jennifer Thomas

Thanks for pointing that out, Dr. Bartolo!

To others that want to use Replace to remove breaks, be aware that 'section breaks'in the special formatting list = ALL break types (including continuous breaks, which can mess up column formatting).

To remove only certain break types, use a macro similar to this (this is for removing only continuous section breaks from selected areas, so just change 'wdSectionContinuous' to whatever type you want):

Sub RemoveSectionBreaksContinuousSelection()

Dim i As Long
Dim sb As Range

' This works only if you have selected text first - this checks for a selected range.

If Selection.Start = Selection.End Then
MsgBox "Select the desired range of text (or press Ctrl+A to select the whole document), then run this macro again."
Exit Sub
End If

'This searches the selection for continuous section breaks and removes them

With Selection
For i = .Sections.Count To 2 Step -1
With .Sections(i)
If .PageSetup.SectionStart = wdSectionContinuous Then
.PageSetup.SectionStart = ActiveDocument.Sections(i - 1).PageSetup.SectionStart
Set sb = Selection.Sections(i - 1).Range
sb.End = sb.End - 1
sb.Collapse wdCollapseEnd
End If
End With
Next i
End With

End Sub

2014-03-08 05:20:43

Dr. Bartolo

This tip could go on to cover two other issues. The first is that you can use search and replace to find various types of break (such as page breaks) and remove or replace them. The "special" drop-down list in the search and replace dialogue box contains the character codes needed to search for these in "search", while "replace" just needs to be left blank (to remove a break) or completed with a different code (to replace it).

The second point is that even in Draft view page breaks cannot be seen in the way described in this tip (at least not in Word 2010) unless a special option to do so is first applied. This is called "split apart page break and paragraph mark", and is available in the "layout options" section at the end of the advanced area in "File" "Options" (again for Word 2010).

This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the ribbon interface (Word 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.