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What’s so special about the last paragraph marker in a Word document?

In our training sessions we often advise users not to copy the last paragraph maker when copying and pasting between documents.

What is it about the last paragraph marker that makes it so special?

It is special because Microsoft Word holds the page formatting of that section of the document in the final paragraph marker. It includes the page orientation and margins and column formatting as well as all the header and footer information.

If you copy the last paragraph marker to a new document, then it will carry over the information into the new document and may change the look of that document. Most users will have experienced a document ‘going to pot’ having added some content from elsewhere. One answer is to copy everything except the last paragraph mark to the new document.  In order to be sure that the last mark is not copied first click on Show/Hide markers button Show/Hide button in Microsoft Wordso that the non-printing, paragraph markers are visible on your screen.

Another good tip when pasting between documents is to paste using Paste Special/Unformatted text to avoid carrying unwanted formatting into the new document.

When copying a document that contains section breaks, it is good practice not only not to copy the section break into your new document, but also not to copy the last paragraph marker before the section break. For more information on section breaks click here.