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.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 27, 2016)
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:
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.
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