Software

Delete a stubborn page break in Word

Sometimes, Word won't let you delete a page break. The fix is usually simple -- although the cause might surprise you.

A friend recently complained that sometimes she can't delete page breaks in a Word document. She can see the break; she highlights it and presses [Delete]. But Word just ignores the action. As you can imagine, she was totally stumped.

Fortunately, the solution was simple, although it's not something you might think of on your own. Here's the problem: You can't delete page (or column) breaks when Track Changes is enabled. As a writer, she frequently works with Track Changes on, and that was indeed the problem. If you need to delete a page break, you must turn off Track Changes, delete the break (make sure you're in Normal view), and enable Track Changes when you're done.

To quickly disable and enable Track Changes, just double-click the TRK section in the Status bar or press [Ctrl]+[Shift]+E.

About

Susan Sales Harkins is an IT consultant, specializing in desktop solutions. Previously, she was editor in chief for The Cobb Group, the world's largest publisher of technical journals.

27 comments
SoLoGHoST
SoLoGHoST

I am trying my damnest to get rid of this page break, but it doesn't delete no matter what I try.  This solution did not work for me, I have tried everything online and this blank 2nd page will not delete.  DAMMMNNN YOUUU MICROSOFT!!!!!

kramer22
kramer22

mgaldzic has given the right solution. Thanks mgaldzic. By the way, this problem has troubled me several times before. The only workaround I knew was to create a copy of some other "normal" word document; then paste the contents of the troublesome document into the copy. It used to work, but then it was not the right solution.

Jennifer Xiao
Jennifer Xiao

The effective way that I find out on my own is: (1) First go to "VIEW" function and select "Normal" rather than others (Print lay out, ect); (2) Then you can see all the page breaks that cannot be seen in the "Print lay out" view. (3) Select the one that you do remove. That is it.

scole215
scole215

Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Was trying to submit a term paper for grad school and was about to LOSE IT. Thank you!!!!

mgaldzic
mgaldzic

I had a heading 2 style at the beginning of a page. The page break I could not erase was "right" above the heading. To remove it I had to re-write the heading in regular text below the problematic one. Then highlight the heading and page break area, delete! it worked. I then went back and made the text into a heading 2 style again. Seems like the page break was "inside" the style code in the doc. I wish there was reveal codes. in Word

Madsmaddad
Madsmaddad

In a newsletter that I edit, I keep having a problem that after each item, I put in a line by '----' most of the way across the page. When I go to edit this later, I cannot get rid of the line. I am using Word 2000. The 'What's this' help thing tells me that the paragraph style is Direct: Border: Bottom (single solid line) BUT I CAN't get rid of it. can Anyone advise? PM.

madmalc567
madmalc567

I suppose an intelligent error message when attempting to delete a break in Track Changes mode is too much to ask

mstabile
mstabile

Thank you, thank you, thank you! I've searched for this solution for months.

carolteach4
carolteach4

The easiest way to get rid of page, section, or column breaks is to go to "draft" view. There the breaks can be selected and deleted.

davidt
davidt

Word 2003? Word 2007? 2010? This isn't just a complaint about this particular post - many posts appearing hereabouts make no mention about whether it applies to one or all versions. Just a thought.

RudHud
RudHud

As a professional writer (and a bit OC about my text), I find Word unusable precisely for this reason. When I am not using content management software I compose in WordPerfect -- which is still very much alive -- and export to the client's preferred format. Why? Because WordPerfect exposes each and every buried code, and lets you change, move, and delete them directly. It's called Reveal Codes, and it's always been there. In this view (which, when invoked, shows as five lines at the bottom of the screen), all the embedded format codes act just like any other character. Just find the problem code and delete it.

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