Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. 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: Understanding Sections.

Understanding Sections

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 27, 2016)

1

If you have used Word for any length of time, you are aware that there are three general types of formatting you can use for a document: page formatting, paragraph formatting, and character formatting. In general, page formatting is set only once for an entire document. That is because your paper size seldom changes in the middle of a document. There are, however, other page formatting settings that you may want to change from time to time, even in the middle of a document. For instance, you may want to change the top margin on a particular page, or you may want to change the way that headers or footers appear on a particular page.

The way Word handles such mid-document page formatting changes is through the use of sections. A section is a portion of a document to which a certain set of page formatting properties should be applied. If you find yourself with the need to change anything having to do with page layout, simply create a new section and change the formatting for that section alone.

You can insert a new section in your document by displaying the Page Layout tab of the ribbon, and then clicking on the Breaks tool. You'll see a drop-down list of breaks you can insert:

  • Next Page. This type of section break causes Word to immediately skip to the next page and begin the new section.
  • Continuous. This section break causes Word to continue with the current section formatting until it makes sense to switch to the new section formatting. If the new section formatting can be applied immediately, it will be. Otherwise, it will take effect on the next page.
  • Even Page. When this section break is entered, Word immediately skips to the next even numbered page, inserting a blank odd-numbered page, if necessary.
  • Odd Page. This type of section break causes Word to immediately skip to the next odd numbered page, inserting a blank even-numbered page, if necessary.

Select the type of section break you want and then click on OK. The section break is inserted, and you can format the new section (or old) as you desire.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (11242) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Understanding 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

Automatically Moving from Cell to Cell when Entering Data

As you enter data in a worksheet, you may want to have Excel automatically move from cell to cell based on the length of ...

Discover More

Formatting Subtotal Rows

Excel automatically formats subtotals for you. But what if you want to change the default to something more suitable for ...

Discover More

Determining If a File Exists

Before you have your macro open and read a file from disk, you'll want to check to make sure it is really there. Here's ...

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)

Shortcut for Show/Hide

Hate to take your hands off the keyboard? Here's a handy keyboard shortcut you can use to display (or not display) the ...

Discover More

Jumping to a Section

One way you can navigate through a document is to jump from section to section. Here's the traditional way to quickly get ...

Discover More

Displaying Shortcut Keys in ScreenTips

ScreenTips can appear with or without shortcut keys displayed in them. Here's how to control whether they appear or not.

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 4 + 0?

2015-03-23 09:25:00

AB

When talking of section breaks I think it should be mentioned that if you have multiple sections and you ever need to review where you have breaks that you can easily do this by changing the view of your document to outline.


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.