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

Removing a Macro from a Shortcut Key

Associate a macro with a shortcut key, and at some time you may want to break that association. (Perhaps so the shortcut ...

Discover More

Understanding Properties

Most of the objects that Windows makes available in its interface possess properties. These properties allow you to ...

Discover More

Adjusting Space Before

If you need to adjust the space that appears before a paragraph, there are several ways you can approach the adjustment. ...

Discover More

The First and Last Word on Word! Bestselling For Dummies author Dan Gookin puts his usual fun and friendly candor back to work to show you how to navigate Word 2013. Spend more time working and less time trying to figure it all out! Check out Word 2013 For Dummies today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Word's Native Measurement Unit

Word allows you to specify distances using a number of different measurement units. Figuring out how those measurement ...

Discover More

Changing from Pirated to Permitted Software

When you install Microsoft Office, you are required to enter a product key that unlocks the software for your use. This ...

Discover More

Understanding Views

Want to see how your document will look before it's printed? Or, do you want to see what things will look like if you put ...

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 seven minus 6?

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.