Insert Page Breaks: MS Word

Dennis Faas's picture

As documents grow longer and extend past one page, MS Word automatically calculates how much room is available and starts a new page when needed (keeping widows, orphans, and other text flow options in mind). MS Word also allows you to specify where to begin a new page by inserting a hard page break where you want one.

Sometimes you only need a short page, such as a cover page, or perhaps you want to start a new part of the text on a new page. You wouldn't want to have to press Enter repeatedly, just to force Word to insert a page break. Instead, you want to control where page breaks occur. In this case, use either of these methods:

  • Choose Insert | Break and click Page Break Click OK.
  • Press CTRL + Enter.

Word will then insert a page break, and the text after the break starts at the top of the new page. A page break in Normal view appears as a dotted line across the page. In Print Layout view, however, all you see is the bottom margin of one page and the top margin of the next page.

Like tabs and paragraph marks, a page break is treated as a single character in the document. You can delete it by pressing Backspace or Delete.

If, after editing your document, you find that a page is breaking in an odd place, change to Normal view to see whether you've inserted a hard page.

Numbering the Pages

Now that you have all your pages finished, you'll want to put page numbers on documents that are longer than a page or two. Word provides a simple way to number the pages automatically by using the Insert | Page numbers command.

It's a good idea to number pages of multi-page documents, so that if they get scattered, you can put them back in order. But you don't want to type a number on each page by hand. Word's automatic page numbering keeps track of where the pages break and inserts the correct number. In this manner, you won't have to remember to insert page numbers or keep track of what number you're on.

  1. Choose Insert | Page Numbers to display the dialog box.
  2. Specify whether you want the page numbers on the top or bottom of the page, and whether you want them aligned at the left, right or center of the page.
  3. Choose whether you want the first page to show a page number.
  4. Click OK.
  5. Adjust the distance from the edge of the page, if necessary, by changing the setting for Headers and Footers in the Margins tab of the Page Setup dialog box.

If you look in Print Preview of Pay layout view, you can see the page numbers within the top or bottom margin of the page.

Business letters require additional information, such as the addressee and date, so you can't just use the automatic page number feature for them. You'll have to either type them by hand, the old-fashioned way, or use a header.

After you've inserted the page numbers, you can change certain options. To do this, choose Insert | Page Numbers again.

  • Change whether the page number appears on the first page.
  • Click the Format button to change the format of the page number. This displays the dialog box shown below.

The Page Number Format dialog box allows you to change the numbering scheme. Below are several ways you'll use this feature:

  • For a preface to a report, use lowercase Roman numerals, rather than Arabic numbers.
  • For a later chapter in a report, for example, you can specify that it should start on page 20.
  • For documents with a title page typed first, you can start page numbering at 0, so that the first page of text is page 1, rather than page 2. (Then clear the check box to show the number on the first page).

After you've made changes, click Close. The page number will appear with the new numbering or alignment in either Print Preview or Print Layout view.

Don't try to change the page number's location from top to bottom or vice versa using the Insert | Page Numbers command; otherwise, you'll actually insert a second page number. If you must change, you'll have to delete one of them. To see the screenshots for this article, click here.

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