applied tips : february 2007
microsoft word : take a break
Word wrapping is a valuable feature in word processing; it lets us concentrate on the text on the page rather than the spacing between margins. However, if you want to do some advanced formatting or just want to start a new page, word wrap can be a bit can be confusing.
For example, you've written a 23-page sales report, and want to add a short index at the end of the report. If you don't know better, you'll start pressing the Enter key until you start a new page, a technique which, if you've tried it before, is inaccurate and shifty.
Fortunately, there is a much faster, easier and more reliable way to organize and manipulate how pages are arranged in Word: breaks.
The Breaks dialog box is split into two categories: non-section breaks and section breaks.
Non-section breaks don't have anything to do with formatting differences in the page, but they do give you greater control over pages and paragraphs in your document. In a sense, they are super-powered carriage returns and spacebars.
Section breaks are a little more advanced because they can do multiple things. In addition to starting a new page, like a page break, these breaks also start a new section. A section is an area in the document with formatting or properties that may be different from other sections in the document. For example, you could use portrait layout in one section of the document, and landscape layout in another section.
Another common use for section breaks is to blend columns with regular paragraphs. Inserting breaks is a sure way to make your document appear with all the contents and formatting in the right places.
How to use Breaks
Place your insertion point where you want to insert the break. Then select Insert > Break from the menu. The Break dialog box appears. Select the type of break you want to insert and click OK.
Here's a quick list of the breaks that are available and what they each do:
- Page break - This is the simplest and probably the most popular type of break. This break will jump to the start of a new page. If working with tables, break the table across pages. Just place the insertion point on the page or in the row that you want to appear at the top of the next page and insert the break. This is also the only break with a keystroke shortcut: Ctrl + Enter.
- Column break - If you are using columns in your document, just insert a column break to start a new column at the top of the page. Inserts a manual column break at the insertion point.
- Text wrapping break (Word 2000, XP) - The text wrapping break gives you more control when using images, tables, or other items in a document. Insert this break to end the current line and force the text to continue below the picture, table, or other item. (This is, quite frankly, a somewhat useless type of break if you are aligning and positioning your images well.)
- Line break - Ends the line and begins a new one without starting a new paragraph. This is especially helpful when you don't want space between each line, or have short lines, such as an address entry. Press Shift + Enter to insert a line break.
- Next page - Starts the next section at the top of the next page.
- Continuous - Inserts a section break and starts the new section immediately, without inserting a page break. This is useful when blending columns with regular paragraphs.
- Even page - Starts the next section on the next even-numbered page. If the section break falls on an even-numbered page, Word leaves the next odd-numbered page blank.
- Odd page - Starts the next section on the next odd-numbered page. If the section break falls on an odd-numbered page, Word leaves the next even-numbered page blank.
To delete a break
Deleting a break is just like deleting any other character or marking in Word. The trick is to find the break you're trying to delete first. Breaks are not visible when they are inserted in a document.
To view hidden characters, such as a break, click the Show/Hide All button on the Standard toolbar. All hidden characters, such as paragraph marks and breaks are shown. Find the break you want to delete and select it. Then press the Delete key and the break is gone.
You can also switch the display to "Normal Mode" as opposed to Page Layout mode. Here you will see your breaks indicated as a horizontal line spanning the screen.
Be careful though! Deleting a break can cause unintended results with your formatting. The formatting of the first section may be lost when the sections collide. For example, in a section break between two pages, if the first one has columns and the second one doesn't, the first page's columns will no longer be in column format.
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