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: Getting Rid of Section Breaks, but Not Section Formatting.

Getting Rid of Section Breaks, but Not Section Formatting

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 27, 2017)

Word allows you to format your documents on three general levels: sections, paragraphs, and characters. Of the three, section formatting is often the most confusing formatting for people to understand. Other issues of WordTips detail how you can insert section breaks and apply section formatting.

If you have worked with sections before, you already know that if you delete a section break, the text before the break then adopts the section formatting characteristics of the section after the break. This may be what you want, but it can also be a pain if you want to delete the final section break in a document and you don't want the previous text to lose its section formatting.

Unfortunately, there is no intrinsic way to delete section breaks and maintain the formatting represented by that break. There is a workaround you can use, however:

  1. Place the insertion point at the end of the document, just after the final section break.
  2. If the section break just before the insertion point is a Continuous section break, press Ctrl+Enter to insert a page break.
  3. Display the Insert tab of the ribbon.
  4. Click the Header tool in the Header & Footer group, and then click Edit Header. The header is displayed and the insertion point is within it.
  5. Make sure the Link to Previous control is selected for both the header and footer. (You can switch between the header and footer by using the Go To Footer tool and the Go To Header tool.) This ensures that the final section in the document has the same header and footer as the section just before it.
  6. Click the Close Header and Footer tool.
  7. Place the insertion point just before the final section break.
  8. Display the Page Layout tab of the ribbon.
  9. Click the small icon at the bottom-right of the Page Setup group. Word displays the Page Setup dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  10. Figure 1. The Page Setup dialog box.

  11. Immediately press Enter or click on OK.
  12. Place the insertion point just after the final section break.
  13. Press F4. Word applies to the last section the Page Setup formatting that you accepted in step 10 for the next-to-last last section.
  14. If there are no differences in column formatting between the two final sections, you can skip to step 20.
  15. Place the insertion point just before the final section break.
  16. Display the Page Layout tab of the ribbon.
  17. Click the Columns tool in the Page Setup group and then click More Columns. Word displays the Columns dialog box. (See Figure 2.)
  18. Figure 2. The Columns dialog box.

  19. Immediately press Enter or click on OK.
  20. Place the insertion point just after the final section break.
  21. Press F4. Word applies to the last section the column formatting that you accepted in step 17 for the next-to-last section.
  22. Select and delete the final section break.
  23. Select and delete the page break you inserted in step 2.

For more information on this and other issues relating to section breaks, visit this page at the Word MVP site:

http://wordmvp.com/faqs/formatting/WorkWithSections.htm

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (9500) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Getting Rid of Section Breaks, but Not Section Formatting.

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Understanding the Gutter Margin

Most everyone knows that Word allows you to set top, bottom, left, and right margins for your document. There is another type ...

Discover More

Understanding Sections

Sections are handy if you want to subdivide a document so you can apply different document formatting to those subdivisions. ...

Discover More

Highlighting Cells Containing Specific Text

If you want to highlight cells that contain certain characters, you can use the conditional formatting features of Excel to ...

Discover More

Comprehensive VBA Guide Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is the language used for writing macros in all Office programs. This complete guide shows both professionals and novices how to master VBA in order to customize the entire Office suite for their needs. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2010 today!

MORE WORDTIPS (RIBBON)

Formatting Multiple Documents

Need to format a bunch of documents so they all look the same? If the documents use styles, doing the formatting is ...

Discover More

Formatting Line Numbers

Legal documents often use automatic line numbering for their documents. If you want to format those line numbers, you can do ...

Discover More

Using the Format Painter with Editing Restrictions in Place

Word allows you to apply protection to your documents that can affect which tools users can access. If you want to exempt ...

Discover More
Subscribe

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

View most recent newsletter.

Comments for this tip:

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)

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.

Subscribe

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.

Links and Sharing
Share