A section break in Word divides your document into different parts or sections.
Word automatically creates one section for your document.
Your document will consist of one section made up of one, several or many pages. This is fine if you do not want to changes to headers, footers, page orientation, columns and other formats.
However, can insert more sections (i.e. divide your document into sections, chapters or parts) if you need to.
For example, suppose you have a five page Word document as shown in Figure 1.
The document to the left has five pages with only one section (Word automatically allocates one section).
You can further divide the Word document into sections with each section containing one or more pages.
The diagram to the right has two sections:
You can add as many sections as you need.
You can format each section differently.
For example, if you have written an academic paper with 20 chapters, you will have at least 20 sections—probably more allowing for the Table of Contents, List of Figures and so on.
Now, you can add different headings in Word (or have no heading) in different sections as shown in Figure 2.
The document on the left in Figure 2 requires:
Therefore, a section break has been inserted at the end of the Table of Contents page.
The document on the right in Figure 2 requires:
Therefore two section breaks have been inserted - one after the first page (the Title page) and another one after the Table of Contents which is on the second and third pages.
Additional section breaks can make your writing better.
Proper use of section breaks in your Word document will let you make your writing:
and it will make your work look more professional.
Proper use of section breaks in your Word document will let you have different:
and any other variations you might want.
You do not have to create a section break if you do not want to have any variation in your document.
For example, if you are writing five page essay with no variations as described previously, then you will have only one section - the default.
You will need to create a section break (or section breaks) when you want to vary something which is outside of your main text. There are four different types of section breaks (see Figure 3) in Word. They are:
You need to create a next page section break when you want to do something different to the whole page, such as:
Note the position of the Next Page section breaks:
You need to create a continuous section break when you want to do something different within a page.
For example, you want to set up a different number of columns within a page (see Figure 5).
Note the position of the Continuous section breaks:
When you insert an Even Page section break, the following text will begin on a new page, but that page will be the next even page number.
Why would you want to do this? After all, most books do the opposite (see When to create an Odd Page Section Break).
You would do this if the style (the rules you are writing under) ask you to start a new chapter (or section) on an even page number.
Whilst uncommon, it is possible.
When you insert an Odd Page section break, the following text will begin on a new page, but that page will be the next odd page number.
Why would you want to do this?
Have a look at any published book that has chapters in it. You should see that each new chapter begins on the right hand side with an odd page number. The left hand side may have the last page of the previous chapter, or if the last page of the previous chapter was an odd page number, then it will be blank.
Word will insert a blank page at the time of printing if necessary.
This only applies if your document is to be printed double sided.
You can create a section break in Word anywhere.
It can be at the end of a page, or it could be within a page.
For example, if your document has the following:
then you would :
and format each section, remembering to remove "Link to Previous".
You can create as many section breaks as you like, wherever you like, whenever you want to format a section differently.
Decide where in your Word document you want to insert a section break.
For example, a section break should be inserted at the end of the Table of Contents if the next page is the main document.
To insert a section break:
Select one of the following (see Figure 1 above):
Section breaks in your Word document lets you vary the format (i.e. the way your document looks).
It is easy to insert a section break in Word. You can insert any number, anywhere to make your document look better.
Have a look at this classic book (opens in new window). It has a different header on the left hand page and the right hand page. Scroll through it and you will see the chapter title in the header changing, from chapter to chapter.
You will need to use sections to vary the pages of your document.
Mastering section breaks is a valuable skill that will pay dividends.