There you are typing away and when you arrive at the bottom of the page, Word automatically creates a new blank page. It is a bit like magic! This is known as an Automatic Page Break and Word will happily keep on creating new pages whenever you need them when you get to the bottom of a page. However, there are times when you want to control the page breaks yourself.
Perhaps you simply press the Enter key until a new page starts – or that may be what you did when you started using Word – but the problem arises when you later make changes to the document, adding (or deleting) some of the text. The new page is then likely to start in the wrong place.
What you need are manual page breaks.
There are also several ways to control how page breaks behave in relation to the text on the page.
Working with Page Breaks
The easiest way to add a manual page break is to use the keyboard shortcut. Simply place the cursor where you want the page break and press the Control Key and the Enter
Key together (Command and Enter on Mac). This will add a page break where the cursor is sitting.
You can also use the ribbon to add a page break.
Click the Layout Ribbon and then the dropdown arrow next to Breaks. Select the top option, Page, and a new page break will be added to your document.
Controlling Automatic Page Breaks
For a professional document, you will want to control how the automatic page breaks behave so that they don’t appear in places where you don’t want them.
Prevent Page Breaks in the Middle of a Paragraph
Select the paragraph that you wish to stop breaking onto two pages.
On the Home or Layout Ribbon click on the paragraph dialogue box launcher and then click on the Line and Page Breaks tab.
Tick the Keep lines together box and click OK.
Prevent Page Breaks between Paragraphs
Highlight the paragraphs that you want to keep together and click on the paragraph dialogue box launcher as above.
Tick the Keep with Next option.
Set a Page Break to Occur Before a Paragraph
Click into the paragraph that you want to follow a page break. Click the paragraph dialogue box launcher as above and select the Page Break Before check box.
Two Lines at the Top or Bottom of a Page?
For a professional-looking document, you should never end a page with just one line of a new paragraph or start a page with only the last line of a paragraph from the previous page. The last line of a paragraph by itself at the top of a page is known as a widow, while the first line of a paragraph by itself at the bottom of a page is known as an orphan.
Select the paragraphs where you want to avoid two lines at the top or bottom of a page (or press Control + A to select the whole document) and then click the paragraph dialogue box launcher as above. Tick the check box for Widow/Orphan Control.
Note that this option is turned on by default.
Prevent Page Breaks in a Table Row
Click into the row in the table that you do not want to break.
In the contextual Table Tools Ribbon click on the Layout Ribbon and then click Properties on the left-hand side.
Click the Row Tab and uncheck the box Allow Row to break across pages.
Delete a Page Break
You cannot delete an automatic page break. To delete a manual page break, display the document in Draft view and then delete the page break. You may need to display paragraph marks to see the page break.
To do this, on the Home Ribbon turn on the Show/Hide icon to display all non-printing characters in the document.
You can now use the Delete key to remove the manual page break you added.
What a difference a few small changes make! I’m sure it’ll take you no time at all to tidy up the page breaks in your document and that you’ll find it looks tidier and much more professional.
To learn more about Microsoft Word and how you can speed up routine tasks, take a look at my Microsoft Word Courses, Work Smarter with Style for Windows or Work Smarter with Style for Mac and Create Lead Magnets and eBooks in Word
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