Microsoft Word

How to Add or Remove Page Breaks in Microsoft Word

If you want more control over the appearance of your Microsoft Word documents, you need to understand how page breaks work.

Microsoft Word uses page breaks to determine how content is distributed in a multi-page document. When one page is filled with text or graphics, additional content flows to the next page. Most of the time, this process is completely automatic, but you can insert a manual page break if you need to.

In this article, we’ll take a look at page breaks. Check out this Microsoft 365 video for a quick overview then read on for all the details.

Automatic Page Breaks

You can’t modify the placement of an automatic page break. Word adds them wherever they’re needed. In Print Layout view, you’re able to see where one page ends and the next one begins.

An automatic page break is inserted when the document’s content exceeds its vertical margins. The amount of content in a document, along with settings like font size, line spacing, margins, and page size determine where automatic page breaks are added.

Inserting a Manual Page Break

Use a manual page break if you’re not happy with the placement of Microsoft Word’s automatic breaks. This might happen if a short paragraph is split in a way that looks awkward and would be easier to understand if its content were displayed on a single page. Inserting a manual page break is often the fastest way to enhance the appearance of complex documents.

Insert a manual page break when you want Microsoft Word to display content on a subsequent page. Manual page breaks are normally invisible. If you enable the display of hidden characters, the words “Page Break” appear in the center of a dotted line wherever a manual page break is added.

Here is how you insert a manual page break.

Step #1: Click the Show/Hide ¶ button in the Home > Paragraph group to display hidden characters.

The Show/Hide button

Step #2: Click in your document to position your cursor then click the Page Break button in the Insert > Pages group or press Ctrl + Enter (if you prefer to use a keyboard shortcut).

The Insert Page Break button

Removing a Manual Page Break

To remove a manual page break, simply delete the Page Break.

Step #1: Click the Show/Hide ¶ button in the Home > Paragraph group to display hidden characters (if necessary).

The Show/Hide button

Step #2: Double-click the Page Break to select it then press Backspace or Delete.

Page Break code highlighted

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How Do I Fix Page Breaks in Word?

In addition to adding and removing manual page breaks, there are several settings you can use to control line and page breaks. These settings determine where automatic page breaks are used in your document.

Here is how to configure pagination in Microsoft Word.

Step #1: Verify that your document is in print layout view. Click the Print Layout button in the View > Views group, if necessary.

The Print Layout view button

Step #2: Right-click a heading or paragraph in your document then select Paragraph from the shortcut menu.

Paragraph command selected in the shortcut menu

Step #3: Pagination settings are located on the Line and Page Breaks tab in the Paragraph dialog box.

Widow/Orphan control checkbox selected on the Line and Page Breaks tab of the Paragraph dialog box

Let’s go over each of these settings.

Widow/Orphan Control

Widow/Orphan control prevents a single line in a paragraph from being left alone at the top or bottom of a page, enhancing a document’s readability. This setting is enabled by default with most styles used in Microsoft Word.

Keep With Next

Keep with next binds the last line of one paragraph to the first line of the next paragraph. This setting ensures that two paragraphs aren’t separated by a page break. All heading styles in Microsoft Word have Keep with next enabled, meaning that a heading will never appear at the bottom of a page without its associated text.

Keep Lines Together

Keep lines together ensures that all lines from a given paragraph appear on the same page.

Page Break Before

Enabling Page break before ensures that a heading or paragraph appears at the top of a page. A page break will be inserted before the selected paragraph.

Remove All Page Breaks in a Word Document

There are times when you might want to remove all manual page breaks. In a long document, this could be a time-consuming task. Thankfully, there is convenient way to locate and remove all manual page breaks using Word’s Find and Replace dialog box.

Here is the process.

Step #1: Click the Replace button in the Home > Editing group. The Find and Replace dialog box appears.

Step #2: Click to position your insertion point in the Find: box then click the More >> button.

Find and Replace dialog box with the Replace tab selected

Step 3: Click the Special button then select Manual Page Break from the shortcut menu.

Manual Page Break specified in Find what:

Step #4: Verify that the Replace with: box is empty then click Replace All.

Replace All button highlighted in the Find and Replace dialog box

By Michael Belfry

Working as a full-time training consultant, Michael provides Microsoft Office courses to government and private sector clients across Canada.