Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Working in Sections
Working with sections does take a little know-how, however, because much of the
formatting goes on behind the scenes and you can end up with unexpected results if you don’t
understand how sections work.
In Word, as odd as it might sound, the last paragraph mark of a document contains the
formatting codes necessary for formatting the content. When you create sections, the section
break contains the information for the section that precedes it.
Suppose that you have a two-column report that includes a narrative summary of your
department’s activities on the right, along with photos and statistics on the left. In the next
section of your report, you want to show several tables that offer departmental costs and
comparisons. These tables are wider than a traditional page, so you want to insert a section
break and set those pages to a single-column format with a landscape orientation. Fine,
you insert a break and add the tables as needed.
Now if you delete the break you added, you might expect the document to reformat so
that the landscape orientation pages change to portrait orientation and your tables are
truncated. In fact, what happens—because the section break contains the information
for the section that precedes it—is that the entire document is reformatted in landscape
This is just one example of the ways sections can throw little surprises into your work. So
two tips are in order as you begin to work with sections:
• Always turn on paragraph marks by clicking Show/Hide in the Paragraph group on
the Home tab so that you can clearly see the breaks you include.
• Only use sections when you need them to change the low of text, control formatting
in parts of your document, or start a new numbering sequence.
Not all long documents require section breaks, and inserting breaks can sometimes
make your documents more complex than they need to be. So unless you have a
specific reason to create a section break—for example, you want to change the orientation
of the next page or apply a page border to only a portion of your document—you
might want to avoid using breaks. If you get into trouble later and are experiencing
strange formatting issues, turn on paragraph marks by clicking Show/Hide to see
whether an oddly placed section break is the culprit.