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

When you're working on a multi-page document, there may be times when you want to have more control over how exactly the text flows. Breaks can be helpful in these cases. There are many types of breaks to choose from depending on what you need, including page breaks, section breaks, and column breaks.

Optional: Download our practice document.

Watch the video below to learn more about using breaks in Word.

To insert a page break:

In our example, the section headers on page three (Monthly Revenue and By Client) are separated from the table on the page below. And while we could just press Enter until that text reaches the top of page four, it could easily be shifted around if we added or deleted something in another part of the document. Instead, we'll insert a page break.

  1. Place the insertion point where you want to create the page break. In our example, we'll place it at the beginning of our headings.
    placing the insertion point
  2. On the Insert tab, click the Page Break command. Alternatively, you can press Ctrl+Enter on your keyboard.
    selecting the Page Break command on the Insert tab
  3. The page break will be inserted into the document, and the text will move to the next page.
    the inserted page break

By default, breaks are invisible. If you want to see the breaks in your document, click the Show/Hide command on the Home tab.

using the Show/Hide command on the Home tab

Section breaks

Section breaks create a barrier between different 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.

types of section breaks

To insert a section break:

In our example, we'll add a section break to separate a paragraph from a two-column list.

  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 two-column formatting.
    placing the insertion point
  2. On the Page Layout tab, click the Breaks command, then select the desired section break from the drop-down menu. In our example, we'll select Continuous so our paragraph remains on the same page as the columns.
    inserting a Continuous section break
  3. A section break will appear in the document.
    the inserted section break
  4. The text before and after the section break can now be formatted separately. In our example, we'll apply one-column formatting to the paragraph.
    removing the two column formatting from the paragraph
  5. The formatting will be applied to the current section of the document. In our example, the text above the section break uses two-column formatting, while the paragraph below the break uses one-column formatting.
    the separately formatted sections

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:

other 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.
    clicking the Show/Hide command
  2. Locate the break you want to delete, then place the insertion point at the beginning of the break.
    placing the insertion point in front a break
  3. Press the Delete key. The break will be deleted from the document.
    the page after deleting the page break

Challenge!

  1. Open our practice document.
  2. Scroll to the Revenue Projections section near the end of the document.
  3. Remove the page break after the Quarter 2 Projections by Client chart.
  4. Place your cursor at the beginning of the header Web App Projections.
  5. Insert a Next Page section break.
  6. In the Page Setup group on the Layout tab, click the Columns drop-down menu and choose One. This formats the page back to one column and should allow the Web App Projections header and the table below it to span across the page. You will learn more about columns in our next lesson.
  7. When you're finished, the last two pages should look something like this:
    Breaks Challenge