Section Breaks in Word

Using Section Breaks to split up your document

I had a call from a client last week who needed his Word document to have both Portrait and Landscape pages within the same document as, in addition to narrative information, he had to include some large tables of data, so we needed to use Section Breaks to allow this to happen.

When he had reached the point where the first narrative ended & the table needed to be inserted, he had tried to simply change the orientation from portrait to landscape, but that hadn’t worked…

From portrait…

… to landscape

Unfortunately, this changed the whole document, which wasn’t what he’d intended; hence his asking me.

The key thing was, before changing the orientation, he needed to insert a Section Break so that Word would know to apply the change in orientation to that section only

Inserting Section Breaks

Section Breaks can be found on the LAYOUT Tab, just to the right of where you change the orientation of the page…

If you are wanting to change the orientation, then the NEXT, EVEN or ODD page section breaks make most sense (‘though if you choose CONTINUOUS & then change the orientation, Word will put the “Landscape text” onto a new page automatically). Whether you use EVEN or ODD usually depends on whether you have different page layouts in terms of Headers & Footers (for page numbering & titles, etc); if you don’t, then it’s as quick to select NEXT Page.

Initially, all that happens is a new page is created, however, when you then select LANDSCAPE from the ORIENTATION button, the new page changes to LANDSCAPE

At the end of your table (or whatever needs to be landscape (an image, map, etc), insert another CONTINUOUS Section Break, reselect PORTRAIT for the Orientation mode & your document will look like this…

Obviously, you can have more than one page in each Section and you can have more than one switch between Portrait & Landscape orientation within your document

Viewing Section breaks

If you want to see where your Section Breaks are, on the HOME tab, click on the Show/Hide button (also known as a “Pilcrow” – more on how this can be useful next month) & some of the formatting that you’ve used will be visible

Paragraph marks and Section Breaks can now be seen…