Breaks

In MS Word line and page breaks give you more control over how text flows. When using Word column breaks are also useful.

Introduction

Video: Breaks

Launch "Breaks" video!Watch the video (3:15).

Adding breaks to your document can make it appear more organized and can improve the flow of text. Depending on how you want to change the pagination or formatting of your document, you can apply a page break or a section break.

Optional: Download our practice document.

To insert a page break:

Page breaks allow you to move text to the next page before reaching the end of a page. You might use a page break if you're writing a paper that has a title page or a bibliography to ensure it starts on a new page. In our example, our chart is split between two pages. We'll add a page break so the chart will be all on one page.

  1. Place the insertion point where you want to create the break. In our example, we'll place it at the beginning of our chart.


    Screenshot of Word 2013Placing the insertion point
  2. On the Insert tab, click the Page Break command. Alternatively, you can press Ctrl+Enter on your keyboard.
    Screenshot of Word 2013Clicking the Page Break command
  3. The page break will be applied to the document, and the text will move to the next page. In our example, the chart moved to the next page.


    Screenshot of Word 2013The new page break

By default, breaks are hidden. If you want to show the breaks in your document, click the Show/Hide command.

Screenshot of Word 2013Showing a page break

Section breaks

Section breaks create a barrier between parts of a document, allowing you to format each section independently. For example, you may want one section to have two columns without adding columns to the entire document. Word offers several types of section breaks:

Screenshot of Word 2013Section Breaks in Word

To insert a section break:

In our example, we'll add a section break to separate a paragraph from a two-column list. This will allow us to change the formatting of the paragraph so it no longer appears formatted as a column.

  1. Place the insertion point where you want to create the break. In our example, we'll place it at the beginning of the paragraph we want to separate from column formatting.


    Screenshot of Word 2013Placing the insertion point
  2. On the Page Layout tab, click the Breaks command, then select the desired section break from the drop-down menu that appears. In our example, we'll select Continuous so our paragraph remains on the same page as the columns.


    Screenshot of Word 2013Selecting a section break
  3. A section break will appear in the document.


    Screenshot of Word 2013The new section break
  4. The text before and after the section break can now be formatted separately. Apply the formatting options you want. In our example, we'll apply one-column formatting to the paragraph so it is no longer formatted as columns.


    Screenshot of Word 2013Applying a new format
  5. The text will be formatted in the document.


    Screenshot of Word 2013The formatted text

Other types of breaks

When you want to format the appearance of columns or modify text wrapping around an image, Word offers additional break options that can help.

Screenshot of Word 2013Additional break options

To delete a break:

By default, breaks are hidden. If you want to delete a break, you'll first need to show the breaks in your document.

  1. On the Home tab, click the Show/Hide command.


    Screenshot of Word 2013Clicking the Show/Hide command
  2. Locate the break you want to delete. Place the insertion point at the beginning of the break you want to delete.


    Screenshot of Word 2013Placing the insertion point
  3. Press the Delete key. The break will be deleted from the document.


    Screenshot of Word 2013After the page break has been removed

Challenge!

  1. Open an existing Word document. If you want, you can use our practice document.
  2. Insert a page break somewhere in the document. If you're using the example, insert a page break to move the Clients Overview section to the next page.
  3. Insert a section break in the document. If you're using the example, insert a Next Page section break to move the Updated Chain of Command section to the next page. Try changing the formatting of paragraph in that section.
  4. Show the breaks using the Show/Hide command.
  5. Delete a break. If you're using the example, delete the page break after the fourth paragraph on page 1 of the document to move the two paragraphs on page 2 onto page 1.