MS-Word 2007/10/13

This article discusses considerations primarily associated with longer documents. Topics covered include page breaks, footnotes and endnotes, sections, headers and footers, and blank pages and orphans.

Longer Documents

Page Breaks

In much the same way as it automatically looks after line breaks within paragraphs using Wordwrap, Word automatically begins a new page when our text surpasses the bottom margin of the current page. These automatic page breaks are dynamic and will adjust automatically as text is added or removed from a page.

Sometimes we might wish to begin a new page before our text reaches a page's bottom margin . In such a case we can insert a manual page break using the Breaks menu in the Page Setup group of the Page Layout tab, or by pressing Ctrl-Enter.

Manual page breaks are not dynamic, they remain exactly where they are inserted regardless of how much text is added or removed either before or after them.


Footnotes and Endnotes are singular entries that either provide details that amplify upon the main text or cite a reference.

In the body text of a document, Footnotes and Endnotes appear as superscript decimal numbers or optionally as superscript letters or Roman numerals. The superscript numbers create a reference to the notes themselves which appear at the bottom of the page (Footnotes) or the end of the document (Endnotes).

Documents can contain footnotes, endnotes, or both and the two can be converted from one to the other any time.

To insert a footnote or endnote:

  1. Select Print Layout view
  2. Position the insertion point where you want the note
  3. Click on Reference Tab >Footnotes >Insert Footnote or Endnote
  4. When the Footnote pane opens, type the footnote
  5. When finished, close the footnote pane

Re-open the footnote pane to edit or view by double-clicking the footnote reference in the text body.

Move a footnote reference by selecting the reference in the body text (for greater precision use the keyboard) and then using Cut (Ctrl-X), and Paste (Ctrl-V).

Check: Don't confuse footers and footnotes. Footers are page numbers and/or text/graphics that appear at the bottom of every page.


When different parts of the same document require different margins, vertical alignment, page orientation, or headers and footers, the document must be broken into sections using section breaks.

The three section break types and their typical uses:

Section breaks are created in two different ways:

  • Manually, using the Breaks menu (Page Setup Group on Page Layout Tab)
  • Automatically, by applying a format which by definition requires them, in which case Word inserts them for you

When Word automatically inserts section breaks it sometimes gets it wrong. If it does, press Ctrl-Z and then use the Breaks menu to apply the correct break. If Word persists in inserting the wrong type of break, insert another break just after the incorrect one and then delete the one which is incorrect. Walkenbach 169.

Check: Don't confuse Page breaks with Next Page section breaks. Both begin a new page, but only Next Page section breaks begin a new page and a new section.

Headers and Footers

Headers and footers are text (and/or graphics) which appear at the top and bottom of pages, usually all pages, but not necessarily. Headers appear in Print Layout and Print Preview, but not in either Normal (Draft) or Outline views.

Headers (and footers) can be added, edited, or deleted in Print Layout view by double-clicking the header (footer) layer, which is the white space at the top (and bottom) of each page in Print Layout.

Page numbers are entered as fields, not as actual numbers. This is to ensure that if pages are inserted or deleted, or existing pages grow or shrink, the page numbers will adjust accordingly.

To insert a page number in the header (footer) layer use the Page Number menu which is located in the Header & Footer group of the Insert tab.

Blank pages and orphans

Avoid wasted paper and time by always using Print Preview (Ctrl-P or Ctrl-F2) before printing.

In Print Preview, scroll through the document a screen full at a time with PgDn (or single-click in the scroll bar beneath the scroll button) and watch for potential problems.

Hint: You must click in anywhere in the right-hand pane of Print Preview before you can use PgDn or PgUp on the keyboard.

Keep pressing PgDn until scrolling no longer advances and that's the last page of the document. It's always wise to check the last page to see whether it is blank or includes an orphan (a small portion of text on the last page of a document).

Blank pages are usually a result of extraneous page breaks or unused empty paragraphs. Make sure the formatting symbols are displayed (Home tab, Paragraph group) and then switch to Normal (Draft) view. Locate the offending page break and paragraph symbols and delete them.

Orphans can usually be united with the rest of the document using one or more of the following techniques:

  • Adjust margins
  • Change typeface and/or font size (Normal style)
  • Adjust line spacing (Normal style)
  • Modify Paragraph Space Before and Space After (Normal style)
  • Modify built-in Heading styles' Space Before and Space After
  • Modify type and amount of paragraph indentation (Normal style)
  • Change page orientation

Bruce Miller, 2000, 2005, 2014

Index to MS-Word articles

Index to all articles