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: Automatic Blank Pages at the End of a Section.

Automatic Blank Pages at the End of a Section

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated October 12, 2013)


Word allows you to add several types of section breaks into your document. Two of the section break types result in the addition of blank pages to the document, if necessary. For instance, if you use an Odd Page section break, and the previous section ends on an odd page, then Word automatically inserts a blank even page so that the next section can start on the next odd page.

The problem with this is that Word inserts an absolutely blank page—it doesn't even print headers or footers on the page. If you prefer headers and footers or some other information on the page (such as "This page intentionally left blank"), then you cannot rely on Word's section breaks alone.

One approach is to manually look at a document and, if necessary, add your own invisible text that would "print" on the page that would otherwise be blank. You create invisible text by adding regular text and formatting it as white. White on white, when printed, is invisible. Word, however, doesn't realize this and provides headers and footers on the "blank" page.

An interesting approach is to create your own end-of-section standard text. Create an AutoText entry that contains your end-of-section text, including a page break at the beginning of the entry. Name the entry something like "BLANKPAGE." Then, at the end of each section, just before the section break, add the following compound field:

{ if { =int( {page} / 2 ) * 2 } = { page }  " " { autotext "BLANKPAGE" } }

Remember that the braces shown in this example are supposed to be field braces. You enter field braces by pressing Ctrl+F9 for each set. The field checks to see if the current page is, in this case, even. If it is, then the field automatically inserts your AutoText information.

If desired, you can also create a macro that will step through the document, look at each section, decide how many pages are in the section, and then add a page break at the end of the section, if necessary. The following macro does this very task:

Sub CheckSecLen()
    Dim iSec As Integer
    Dim oRng As Range
    Dim iValue As Integer

    With ActiveDocument
        ' go through each section (except for the last one)
        For iSec = 1 To .Sections.Count - 1
            ' create a range object at the start of the section
            Set oRng = .Sections(iSec).Range
            oRng.Collapse wdCollapseStart
            ' insert a sectionpages field
            .Fields.Add Range:=oRng, Type:=wdFieldSectionPages
            ' divide the sectionpages field by 2
            ' if it gives a zero as the remainder, then
            ' you have an even number of pages in the section,
            ' which is what you want with an odd section page break
            If (.Sections(iSec).Range.Fields(1).Result Mod 2) <> 0 Then
                ' if you have an odd number of pages, then insert
                ' a page break before the section's section break
                Set oRng = .Sections(iSec).Range
                With oRng
                    .Collapse Direction:=wdCollapseEnd
                    .MoveEnd unit:=wdCharacter, Count:=-1
                    .InsertBreak Type:=wdPageBreak
                End With
            End If
            ' remove the sectionpages field that was added
        Next iSec
    End With
End Sub


If you would like to know how to use the macros described on this page (or on any other page on the WordTips sites), I've prepared a special page that includes helpful information. Click here to open that special page in a new browser tab.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1870) 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: Automatic Blank Pages at the End of a Section.

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. ...


Reliable Conversion to WordPerfect

If you have documents that you need to save in WordPerfect format, you might experience some frustration in making the ...

Discover More

Missing Header and Footer Toolbar

When you need to make changes to the header or footer of a document, the Header and Footer toolbar is invaluable. What if ...

Discover More

Two Page Numbers per Physical Page

Want to save paper when printing your document? Just print two pages per sheet of paper and you'll get rid of only half ...

Discover More

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!

More WordTips (menu)

Read-Only Embedded Fonts

If you receive a document from somebody else, you might not be able to edit it if the document contains fonts that you ...

Discover More

Ensuring Consistent Lines on Each Page

Need to have a specific number of lines on each page in your documents? What if those documents are subdocuments to a ...

Discover More

Letters and Numbers in Page Numbers

A common task is to add page numbers to document headers and footers. If you want those page numbers to include more than ...

Discover More

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

View most recent newsletter.


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 9 + 2?

2018-05-21 15:15:52

Michael K

Hello, Scott. Sounds like you're working on a military technical manual of some kind. I had this exact same issue and developed conditional footers that addressed the problem. Of course, it also caused problems with page numbers in the TOC, which I had to address using a hidden SEQ field before the visible Chapter heading.

Set up your sections with "different odd and even" footers. Obviously unlink your footers from any other sections in the document. Then, you can enter the footer text as shown for odd pages: "{ If { SectionPages } > { PAGE } "{ STYLEREF "Heading 1"
\t }-{ PAGE }" } { If { SectionPages } = { PAGE } ”{ STYLEREF "Heading 1"
\t }-{ PAGE }/({ STYLEREF ”Heading 1"
\t }-{ ={ PAGE} + 1 } blank)" }. For even pages, just enter the first part:
{ If { SectionPages } > { PAGE } "{ STYLEREF "Heading 1"
\t }-{ PAGE }"

The result looks like this on the last odd page of Chapter 1: 1-13/(1-14 blank). For your document, substitute your section header style name in the STYLEREF expression (or substitute your calculation). I'm assuming you have sections 1-3 as front matter and content begins with section 4.

I developed this based on Greg Maxey's work (google him to find his page) and he deserves credit for the basis if my approach. If you find you can improve on my approach, please share. Also, feel free to e-mail me directly if you need to.

Best wishes,

2018-04-04 08:51:47


I'm creating a Manual that is separated into Work Packages.
I'm using Field Codes to control the auto numbering of each Work Package based on the Section Number.

the page number format has to contain the Work Package Number - Page number.

I've used the following Field Code combination to do this.
{ ={ SECTION }-4 \# 0000 \*MERGEFORMAT }-{ PAGE |* Arabic \* MERGEFORMAT }

This works great, and automatically adjusts for each new section.

My problem "NOW" is at the end of each Work Package (section) if the last page is Odd and the next page is blank. the last Odd page number has to have " /blank" after the page number e.g. 0023-5/blank

I can't use the typical section break method to control the unique last page number, because this will create a cascading affect with my use of the SECTION Field Code to control the next section Work Package number.

Is there a custom filed code formula that will make this work without affecting the rest of the page numbering in the document.

I only want the /blank to appear on the last page of a section if the real last page is blank.

2016-05-18 16:23:51

Jessica Davis

This works beautifully; however, I had to add:

.InsertParagraph after the .InsertBreak method. Without it, Word 2013 was still inserting a blank page.

I also added:
.InsertAfter "<blank page text>" to insert a message.

Thanks for posting this macro. Saved me a great deal of time.

2013-10-12 21:11:13

Steve Wells

AutoText in a field is static and doesn’t travel with its document if copied alone to a different computer, so it presents reuse issues.
I use an embedded compound field/macro combination somewhat like that in the WordTip. It references the current chapter heading in a style that places the message centered with 216 points of Space Before and the chapter name placed in bold. Thus, I get a message placed just above mid-page saying, for example:
This page concludes
Site Requirements.

Such a message is true, brief, and without controversy--unlike the self-falsifying "This page intentionally left blank," which can generate semantic disonance that distracts some readers.

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

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.