Breaking it Down in Word

Happy Wednesday and welcome to this week’s Tip of the Week.

This week’s post is somewhat of a follow up to last week’s post, Headers and Footers in Word: The Basics. In last week’s post, we looked into creating headers and footers and scraped the surface of having different headers and footers on different pages. Today we will go into this in more depth and I’ll show you how to insert breaks into your documents to improve your formatting capabilities.

There are two categories of breaks you can use in Word: Page Breaks and Section Breaks. Page Breaks include Page breaks, Column breaks, and Text Wrapping breaks, and Section Breaks include Next Page breaks, Continuous breaks, Even Page breaks, and Odd Page breaks. We’ll start with Page Breaks and then move into the more powerful Section Breaks.

Before we go any further, we need to talk about one key feature in Word that will allow you to better keep track of the breaks you use in Word. It is the Show/Hide button under Paragraph in the Home tab. You can find it here:

Here’s an example of what it’ll show you:


In documents where you have multiple page or section breaks, this can be extremely helpful to distinguish between them and organize your document.

Page Breaks


There are two different ways to insert the basic Page Break in Word. The first is to go to Insert then Pages and then Page Break and the second (and where the other six breaks are located) is to go to the Page Layout tab, click on Breaks, and then select Page under Page Breaks.

Now what will a Page break do you ask? Well, it’ll simply move you to the next page without changing any of the formatting. Basically, it saves you the time of hitting Enter a bunch to move to the next page. To speed things up even more, learn the shortcuts!

  • Microsoft: Control + Enter
  • Mac: Command + Enter


Great, now here I am in a document that has two columns. What can I do if I want to put a line or paragraph in the first column? Should I hit Enter a bunch of times? I would have two problems with that:

  1. I’m lazy.
  2. What if I need to go back to the first column and edit something? This will then mess up the formatting and I’ll either have to hit Enter again or use Backspace or Delete to clean up the white space (again, lazy me says that’s waaaay too much effort).

So instead, insert a Column Break (select Page Layout then Breaks then Column).

Once inserted, not only will the text shoot straight to the top of the column (see below), I’ll also be able to edit the text in the first column without worrying about it affecting the second column (Unless the text overflows into the second column. Sorry, there’s no helping you there.).


Text Wrapping

A Text Wrapping break will move any text that is next to an image (or table or anything else) below that image. Check out the example below of a page with an image that has text wrapped around it on the right:

What if I don’t like how this looks? Maybe I think that this document would look better if our logo stood out a little more. So, I’ll insert a Text Wrapping break (select Page Layout Tab then Breaks then Text Wrapping) so that all that text to the right of it moves below.


This could also be accomplished by hitting Enter several times, but again, we’re lazy, and again, what happens if you edit the text?

Here is what we get after inserting the break:

This is just one example of using the Text Wrapping break. It can also be especially useful if you have two paragraphs next to an image and you want to push the second paragraph down below the image.

Section Breaks

You probably have already noticed that under the Page Breaks section under Breaks in the Page Layout tab there is a Section Breaks section. These kinds of breaks are best for separating different sections in your documents.

Next Page

The Next Page break is similar to the Page break; however, along with moving you to the next page, it also separates the formatting between the two pages. So, say we want one page to be in portrait and the next one to be in landscape, how can we do that?

Start by inserting a Next Page break.

Put your cursor on the new page and select Orientation and Landscape (just to the left of Breaks). And then, well, that’s it!


These Next Page breaks can be great for inserting a Landscape page in longer documents if you want to insert a wide table, image, or anything else!


What if you want the top of the page to be one column and the bottom to have two columns? You can insert a Continuous break, as depicted below. This will insert a Section Break (allowing you to change the page formatting), but will not move you to the next page (like the Next Page break).

Then, just select Two under Columns (with your cursor where you want the columns to begin) and voila!

In what other ways do you think you could use the Continuous break?

Even Page/ Odd Page

Inserting an Even Page or Odd Page break will insert a new Section Break and then begin that new section on the next even or odd page. In the example below, I have inserted an Even Page break. As you can see, page seven is eliminated and the document goes straight from page six to page eight. This kind of section break could be useful if you’re writing a book and would like each new chapter to begin on an even or odd numbered page.

Once you’ve inserted it, here’s what the Even Page break does to the first page:

And here’s the next page:

See how it says “Page 8 of 9” at the bottom instead of “Page 7 of 9”?

Applying Section Breaks to Headers and Footers

Last week I promised that we would go over how to use breaks with headers and footers in conjunction with Page Breaks and Section Breaks. However, this post is running a little long so instead, I’m going to challenge you to solve it yourself.

Here’s the challenge: How can you use Section Breaks to have multiple headers and footers in the same document?

If you think you’ve figured it out (or if you’re struggling), post in the comments and let me know what you’ve come up with.

Finally, I’ll leave you with this thought. The average user of Microsoft Word only uses 10% of the functionalities. What do you think your percentage is? Have these Tips of the Week helped you unleash more of Word’s power? You bought their product, now it’s time to use it to its full potential!



    Nisar, the dynamic force behind Translation Excellence, stands tall as its founder and CEO. This isn’t just any company—it’s a global heavyweight in boutique language services. Hailing from the vibrant city of Kabul, Afghanistan, Nisar brought his passion and expertise to the U.S. shores in 2001. In the realm of languages, he’s a titan. With 19 years under his belt, he’s worn hats from a linguist and instructor to a cultural bridge-builder and curriculum craftsman.

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