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: Changing Sections.

Changing Sections

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 14, 2015)

Word allows you to divide a document into different layout areas called sections. Each section can be set up so that it starts on a new page, odd page, even page, or is continuous. (Display the Page Layout tab of the ribbon and then click the Breaks tool to see what types of section breaks are available.) When you first start using sections, they might seem a bit confusing. For instance, you may have a document in which you have multiple sections, some formatted as Continuous breaks and other as New Page breaks. If you later delete some of your section breaks, it may seem that the section formatting is getting messed up. This is particularly true if you delete the last section break you find in a document. Why this is happening is best explained by an example. Let's say you have a document in which there are three sections:
  • Section 1 is formatted as New Page
  • Section 2 is formatted as Continuous
  • Section 3 is formatted as New Page
You must remember that the formatting for each section is maintained in the section breaks at the end of each section. This might seem odd, since you can only see two section breaks in the document, even though there are three sections. In the example document, the following is true:
  • The formatting for Section 1 (New Page) is in the first section break.
  • The formatting for Section 2 (Continuous) is in the second section break.
  • The formatting for Section 3 (New Page) is in the implied section break that is always at the end of a document.
Note that there is an implied section break at the end of the document. This section break is not visible, of course, but it is nonetheless there, and contains formatting for the final section. When you position your insertion point just before the second section break and press the Delete key, the section break is deleted. This deletes the section formatting for the second section, and the text in that section automatically is formatted according to what was in the third section. Thus, you end up with two sections, as follows:
  • Old Section 1 (New Page)
  • New Section 2 (old Section 3, still New Page)
It is easy to think that Word changed your Continuous section to a New Page section, but in reality Word did exactly what you told it to do: delete the second section. There really is no way to delete the final section (the implied section that is always there) in a document. Instead, you must change the formatting of that section so it reflects what you want.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (9858) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Changing Sections.

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

Moving Quickly Between Directories

Want an easy way to move between directories using the Open dialog box? With just a little bit of up-front typing, you ...

Discover More

Preventing Changes to Formatting and Page Size

When you create workbooks for others to use, you might want to make sure that they can't change the formatting and paper ...

Discover More

Selective Summing

If you want to add up the contents of a range of cells based on what is contained in a different range of cells, you need ...

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)

Quickly Displaying Formatting Specs

It's easy to apply formatting to text, but often hard (after the fact) to know exactly what was done. If you often need ...

Discover More

Losing All Formatting in a Document

Have you ever made a formatting change to a couple of characters or to a paragraph, only to see those changes affect text ...

Discover More

Copying Formats

Want to copy a format from one place to another without taking your hands off the keyboard? It's easy to do if you apply ...

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

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 0?

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.

Newest Tips
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.