When using Microsoft word, have you:
- had a multi-page document that needs some pages to be landscape and others portrait?
- needed page numbers to change throughout the document?
- encountered frustrating formatting issues in a document that were solved by putting pages in a separate document?
You might be interested to learn about using Section Break in Word 2010 instead of the Page Break to separate your document. Keep reading after the jump.
I was working with an individual yesterday that had spent several months on an academic paper and it was quite lengthy as a result. To have a properly formatted thesis and fit his data, he needed to make a few changes. The document needed page numbers with the preface being in roman numerals and the rest of the page being in standard numbers. He also had a single page with a table on it that needed to be landscape while the rest of the document needed to be portrait orientation.
His attempts were proving unsuccessful since the whole document would become landscape when he tried to change the orientation of just the one page. That’s when I showed him the section breaks in Word 2007 and Word 2010.
To make things easier, I recommend that you have your document mostly completed before you start focusing on formatting issues like this or you may just have to repeat the work to get things correct at the end if your content changes significantly. I also recommend that ‘symbols’ be turned on under the Home tab while doing this formatting. The button is in orange in the below screenshot, its icon is of the paragraph symbol.
If you have written much in Microsoft Word, you are probably pretty familiar with Page Break. It simply tells the document to finish the page and start a new page. While it works well for simple documents, it doesn’t mean anything to format styling, which will continue right past the Page Break. To insert a Page Break, you will find the button on the Insert tab.
Section Breaks allow you to work with the formatting. Essentially, you are creating sections in your document that can be formatted differently than the whole document. On the Page Layout tab, you will find a smaller button with a drop-down for Breaks. In the drop-down, you will find a number of Section Breaks that will allow you to section off your works with enough flexibility to not disrupt your content (with the Continuous Section Break) or to replace the Page Break mentioned earlier (with the Next Page Section Break).
From the picture below, you can see page 3 is landscape while the others are portrait. To accomplish this, I inserted a Section Break (Next Page) before the table and after the table. This sectioned off the content, as you can see from the lines visible with Symbols turned on. I then clicked inside the newly created section and changed its orientation to landscape. The rest of the document was unaffected since the change was within the new section. If I wanted the first pages to be portrait and the rest of the document to be landscape, I could just leave off the closing Section Break and allow the landscape orientation to affect the end of the document.
A single page landscape in the middle of a document where other pages have the portrait orientation.
Section Breaks are also useful to separate sections where page numbers will differ or you encounter other formatting issues you would like to be isolated to one section. For page numbers, you can edit the header and configure the page numbers to use different styling, start again at a new number, or continue counting from the previous section.
To easily create a demo for this article, I used the trick of filling a Word document with random text using the function =rand(10,5). This trick was mentioned before in a discussion about software Easter eggs, although it is a documented function, not a hidden Easter egg.
To create random text, type ‘=rand(p,s)’ without the quotes where ‘p’ is the number of paragraphs you want and ‘s’ is the number of sentences you want per paragraph. You then hit enter and the document should be filled as you specified in the function.