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: Getting Rid of Section Breaks, but Not Section Formatting.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 27, 2017)
Word allows you to format your documents on three general levels: sections, paragraphs, and characters. Of the three, section formatting is often the most confusing formatting for people to understand. Other issues of WordTips detail how you can insert section breaks and apply section formatting.
If you have worked with sections before, you already know that if you delete a section break, the text before the break then adopts the section formatting characteristics of the section after the break. This may be what you want, but it can also be a pain if you want to delete the final section break in a document and you don't want the previous text to lose its section formatting.
Unfortunately, there is no intrinsic way to delete section breaks and maintain the formatting represented by that break. There is a workaround you can use, however:
Figure 1. The Page Setup dialog box.
Figure 2. The Columns dialog box.
For more information on this and other issues relating to section breaks, visit this page at the Word MVP site:
WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1477) 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: Getting Rid of Section Breaks, but Not Section Formatting.
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Got a version of Word that uses the menu interface (Word 97, Word 2000, Word 2002, or Word 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.