Word.Tips.Net WordTips (Menu Interface)

Understanding Sections

Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Word 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Word, click here: Understanding Sections.

If you have used Word for any length of time, you are aware that there are three general types of formatting you can use for a document: page formatting, paragraph formatting, and character formatting. In general, page formatting is set only once for an entire document. That is because your paper size seldom changes in the middle of a document. There are, however, other page formatting settings that you may want to change from time to time, even in the middle of a document. For instance, you may want to change the top margin on a particular page, or you may want to change the way that headers or footers appear on a particular page.

The way Word handles such mid-document page formatting changes is through the use of sections. A section is a portion of a document to which a certain set of page formatting properties should be applied. If you find yourself with the need to change anything having to do with page layout, simply create a new section and change the formatting for that section alone.

You insert a new section in your document by choosing Break from the Insert menu. Word displays the Break dialog box. (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1. The Break dialog box.

You can select any of the following types of section breaks:

  • Next Page. This type of section break causes Word to immediately skip to the next page and begin the new section.
  • Continuous. This section break causes Word to continue with the current section formatting until it makes sense to switch to the new section formatting. If the new section formatting can be applied immediately, it will be. Otherwise, it will take effect on the next page.
  • Even Page. When this section break is entered, Word immediately skips to the next even numbered page, inserting a blank odd-numbered page, if necessary.
  • Odd Page. This type of section break causes Word to immediately skip to the next odd numbered page, inserting a blank even-numbered page, if necessary.

Select the type of section break you want and then click on OK. The section break is inserted, and you can format the new section (or old) as you desire. You can always tell which section you are in by looking at the status bar. Just to the left of the Page number is the notation Sec 1. This means you are in section 1 of your document. If the notation is Sec 3, you are in section 3. (You get the idea—you can have as many sections as you need in your document.)

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1920) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) here: Understanding Sections.

Related Tips:

Learning Made Easy! Quickly teach yourself how to format, publish, and share your content using Word 2013. With Step by Step, you set the pace, building and practicing the skills you need, just when you need them! Check out Microsoft Word 2013 Step by Step today!


Leave your own comment:

  Notify me about new comments ONLY FOR THIS TIP
Notify me about new comments ANYWHERE ON THIS SITE
Hide my email address
*What is 5+3 (To prevent automated submissions and spam.)
           Commenting Terms

Comments for this tip:

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)

Our Company

Sharon Parq Associates, Inc.

About Tips.Net

Contact Us


Advertise with Us

Our Privacy Policy

Our Sites


Beauty and Style




DriveTips (Google Drive)

ExcelTips (Excel 97–2003)

ExcelTips (Excel 2007–2016)



Home Improvement

Money and Finances


Pests and Bugs

Pets and Animals

WindowsTips (Microsoft Windows)

WordTips (Word 97–2003)

WordTips (Word 2007–2016)

Our Products

Helpful E-books

Newsletter Archives


Excel Products

Word Products

Our Authors

Author Index

Write for Tips.Net

Copyright © 2016 Sharon Parq Associates, Inc.