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Why use Section Breaks in Microsoft Word?

Section breaks in Microsoft Word help you to create highly sophisticated documents. They are a very powerful feature but they need to be used with care. Easy to insert they can be awkward and confusing to delete.  Bearing that in mind look at what they can do for you.

They allow you to:

  • use different headers or footers in different pages of the document
  • set different margins in different pages or sections of the document
  • insert a landscape page in a portrait document (or vice versa)
  • switch between single and multi column text

Section breaks can be inserted using the Breaks button in the Page Setup group on the Page Layout tab.

There are four types of Section break:

Next Page

Use this when you want to have different margins or headers and/or footers on different pages or to insert a landscape page. When you click this a new page is inserted and your cursor is on the new page


Use this if you need to have single column text and multiple column text on the same page. here the section break is inserted at the cursor location and you can continue typing on the same page. You will need another continuous section break after your multi-column text if you want to return to single column text or reduce/increase the number of columns.

Even page

Use this to ensure the following text is always on an even page. This is useful in larger documents where physical sections eg chapters always start on an even page, eg most books are set out like this.

Odd page

Use this to ensure the following text is always on an odd page. This is useful if for example you want to have pictures/tables/graphs etc on an odd page and text relating to it on the facing even page.