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.

Getting Rid of Section Breaks, but Not Section Formatting

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 27, 2017)

6

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:

  1. Place the insertion point at the end of the document, just after the final section break.
  2. If the section break just before the insertion point is a Continuous section break, press Ctrl+Enter to insert a page break.
  3. Choose Header and Footer from the View menu. Word displays the Header and Footer dialog box.
  4. Make sure the Same As Previous control is selected for both the header and footer. This ensures that the final section in the document has the same header and footer as the section just before it.
  5. Close the Header and Footer dialog box.
  6. Place the insertion point just before the final section break.
  7. Choose Page Setup from the File menu. Word displays the Page Setup dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  8. Figure 1. The Page Setup dialog box.

  9. Immediately press Enter or click on OK.
  10. Place the insertion point just after the final section break.
  11. Press F4. Word applies to the last section the Page Setup formatting that you accepted in step 8 for the next-to-last last section.
  12. If there are no differences in column formatting between the two final sections, you can skip to step 17.
  13. Place the insertion point just before the final section break.
  14. Choose Columns from the Format menu. Word displays the Columns dialog box. (See Figure 2.)
  15. Figure 2. The Columns dialog box.

  16. Immediately press Enter or click on OK.
  17. Place the insertion point just after the final section break.
  18. Press F4. Word applies to the last section the column formatting that you accepted in step 14 for the next-to-las last section.
  19. Select and delete the final section break.
  20. Select and delete the page break you inserted in step 2.

For more information on this and other issues relating to section breaks, visit this page at the Word MVP site:

http://wordmvp.com/faqs/formatting/WorkWithSections.htm

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.

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Creating a Command List

Want a list of all the commands available in Word? You can get one easily by following these steps.

Discover More

Setting Cell Width and Height Using the Keyboard

Hate to take your hands off the keyboard? Here are a couple of ways you can reject the mouse and still adjust the height and ...

Discover More

How Word Applies Styles

Styles are a great boon for applying styles in a powerfully consistent manner. How Word applies styles, however, depends on ...

Discover More

Do More in Less Time! Are you ready to harness the full power of Word 2013 to create professional documents? In this comprehensive guide you'll learn the skills and techniques for efficiently building the documents you need for your professional and your personal life. Check out Word 2013 In Depth today!

More WordTips (menu)

Changing Page Margins

Part of determining page layout is to specify the size of the margins that surround the text on a page. Word allows you to ...

Discover More

Changing Page Orientation

Learn about different page orientations and how to change them.

Discover More

Removing Breaks

Word allows you to add several types of "breaks" into your document. If you later want to remove any of them, you can use ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is five more than 2?

2017-11-07 11:03:10

Lesley

Thank you Allen. This actually worked AND the instructions made sense! I've been trying to sort this out for a couple of days. I pressed the final delete button with trepidation but, hey presto, there it was gone!


2017-05-24 00:50:51

Katie

Thank you SO much! I usually wouldn't ever comment on a blog like this but this just solved a problem I've been struggling with for weeks, and I'm so relieved and thankful right now. The problem was that it was somehow split into two columns instead of one, so as soon as I changed it, it worked and I was able to delete the blank page at the end! Thank you thank you!


2017-05-08 15:59:11

Jocelyn

Thanks!! This trick really helped out!


2017-01-27 09:35:05

Lisa

Thank you so much!!!


2016-10-18 03:29:42

Henry

Thankyou! I had no clue about any of this. I could implement your tip for MS 2010.


2016-10-11 17:44:41

David

Great tip! Thank you. Losing the previous page's formatting after deleting my section break was driving me bonkers and I couldn't remember how to stop it until I read your tip.


This Site

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.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.