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Introduction to sections

Rachel Woolley
by Rachel Woolley

Microsoft Word documents can be separated into sections. Sections are important for many reasons, you can organise your document into chapters with sections and have pages change design and layout throughout your document.

Sections can be used to change the layout of your document from page to page, including the:

  • margins
  • headers and footers
  • number and size of columns
  • page size
  • page layout (landscape or portrait)
  • page numbering.

For example, you could:

  • insert a single landscape page in a portrait document
  • use roman numerals (i, ii and so on) for page numbers for the table of contents and copyright pages
  • start the text in your document in a single column and then change to three columns.

You can divide a document into multiple sections simply by putting a section break where you want the layout to change. Section breaks can either start content on a new page or follow on continuously on the same page.

To put a section break into a Microsoft Word document:

  1. Locate the Page Setup area on the Page Layout tab.
  2. Click the Breaks button.
    Section Breaks button
  3. Select the desired type of section break.
    Types of section breaks

Once you have inserted your section breaks, just apply the desired formatting with your cursor located in the section you want the formatting applied to.

For example, to put a single landscape page into a document:

  1. Put a Next Page section break just above the page.
  2. Put a Next Page section break at the bottom of the page content.
  3. Click the page.
  4. On the Page Layout tab click Orientation and select Landscape.

To set the page numbers to roman numerals for the table of contents pages:

  1. Put in page numbers for the whole document.
  2. Put a Next Page section break at the bottom of the table of contents.
  3. Change the page number format to roman numerals for the table of contents section.
  4. For the main body of the document open the page number format window and select Start at 1.

Apply a similar process to apply any sort of style change between sections of your document.

All images in this article are screen captures of Microsoft Word 2010, but the process is the same in Microsoft Word 2013 and Microsoft Word 2007.

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