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: Changing Sections.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 10, 2017)
Word allows you to divide a document into different layout areas called sections. Each section can be set up so that it starts on a new page, odd page, even page, or is continuous. (Choose Break from the Insert menu to see what types of section breaks are available.)
When you first start using sections, they might seem a bit confusing. For instance, you may have a document in which you have multiple sections, some formatted as Continuous breaks and other as New Page breaks. If you later delete some of your section breaks, it may seem that the section formatting is getting messed up. This is particularly true if you delete the last section break you find in a document.
Why this is happening is best explained by an example. Let's say you have a document in which there are three sections:
You must remember that the formatting for each section is maintained in the section breaks at the end of each section. This might seem odd, since you can only see two section breaks in the document, even though there are three sections. In the example document, the following is true:
Note that there is an implied section break at the end of the document. This section break is not visible, of course, but it is nonetheless there, and contains formatting for the final section.
When you position your insertion point just before the second section break and press the Delete key, the section break is deleted. This deletes the section formatting for the second section, and the text in that section automatically is formatted according to what was in the third section. Thus, you end up with two sections, as follows:
It is easy to think that Word changed your Continuous section to a New Page section, but in reality Word did exactly what you told it to do: delete the second section. There really is no way to delete the final section (the implied section that is always there) in a document. Instead, you must change the formatting of that section so it reflects what you want.
WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1712) 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: Changing Sections.
The First and Last Word on Word! Bestselling For Dummies author Dan Gookin puts his usual fun and friendly candor back to work to show you how to navigate Word 2013. Spend more time working and less time trying to figure it all out! Check out Word 2013 For Dummies today!
When you allow Word to naturally flow your text through a document, you may find that the text on each page ends at a ...Discover More
Word allows you to change the character of how your pages are designed by using multiple sections in a document. If you want ...Discover More
When laying out your document, you may wonder what width you should use for your text. An old typographers trick may help to ...Discover More
FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."
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.