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: Searching for Breaks.

Searching for Breaks

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated June 3, 2020)
This tip applies to Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003


Word allows you to search not just for text, but also for special characters that normally do not print. There may be times when you want to search for page, section, or column breaks. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Choose Find from the Edit menu or press Ctrl+F. Word displays the Find tab of the Find and Replace dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  2. Figure 1. The Find tab of the Find and Replace dialog box.

  3. In the Find What box, enter the text for which you want to search. To search for a page break enter ^m. To search for a section break, enter ^b. To search for a column break, enter ^n. Note that it is important to use lowercase characters. You can also select these and other types of special characters by clicking on the Special button. (You may need to click on the More button first.)
  4. Set other searching parameters, as desired.
  5. Click on Find Next.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1109) 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: Searching for Breaks.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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