Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Understanding Section Breaks in Microsoft Word

Section breaks are one of the most useful features of Microsoft Word, especially when working with long documents.

They enable you to apply page formatting to parts of a page, or to specific pages of a document.
This article will look at two awesome uses of section breaks in Microsoft Word.

First we look at using them to insert a landscape page in the middle of a portrait orientated document. We then look at using them to start page numbering in a document from a specific page.

Insert One Landscape Page in the Middle of a Document

To achieve this we will need two section breaks. One before the landscape page, and one after it. By sectioning of a page like this we can then apply the necessary page formatting (in this case page orientation), to it without affecting the other pages of the document.

1. Position the insertion point in the document where you want the section to start.

2. Click the Page Layout tab on the Ribbon and then the Breaks button. Select Next Page from the list of section breaks available. This will start a new section and a new page.

Insert section break in MS Word

3. Repeat this action to insert another next page section break. Our document is now broken into three different sections.

4. Position the insert point between the two section breaks (or directly before the second one) to ensure you are on section 2. Tip: Click the Show/Hide button on the Home tab to make the section breaks visible.

5. Click the Orientation button and select Landscape.

Landscape page in middle of document

Watch the Video

Start Page Numbering from Page 3

Probably the most common use of section breaks in MS Word is for headers and footers. They can be used to apply specific header and/or footer content to certain pages or chapters in a document.
For example, we will look at using section breaks to start page numbering from page 3 in a document.

1. Position the insertion point at the bottom of page 2. If there is a page break already there then remove it.

2. Click the Breaks button on Page Layout and select the Next Page section break.

3. Double click inside the top margin of page 3 to open up the header area of the page. Scroll down to the bottom and click inside the footer area and position the insert point where you would like the page number to appear.

4. Before we insert the page number, we will need to break the link to the previous section. Click the Link to Previous button on the Design tab under Header & Footer Tools. This step is the key difference between using section breaks with header and footers and other page formatting techniques.

Break the Link to Previous on the footer

5. Click the Page Number button, Current Position and select the page number style of your choice.

Watch the Video

There are many great uses of section breaks. This article explains two common scenarios. Go explore and see what section breaks can do for your documents.

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