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.

23 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.

ssharkins
ssharkins

There's a property default that automatically assigns a line created by typing several hyphen characters as a border to the text. To get rid of the line, use the Border tool -- I know it sounds crazy, and it's absolutely maddening until you understand what's happening. But, choose No Border from the Border icon on the Formatting toolbar. You can disable the setting, but off the top of my head, I can't remember what the setting is. I'll try to remember to come back and post a link to the earlier post on this subject.

petremure
petremure

The line isn't really a line, but a border, and it's assigned to the paragraph. To get rid of it, treat it like a border, not an object. Simply position the cursor anywhere in the paragraph and choose No Border from the Borders tool on the Formatting menu (this was a Techrepublic tip, by Susan Hawkimgs).

smadden2
smadden2

In Word 2003, you can do at least two things to delete an unwanted line (aka border): 1) Click Format > Styles and Formatting > Clear Formatting. 2) Position your cursor on the line. Click the arrow next to the border icon (it looks like a square or an underline depending on what border effect you last used). Click the "No Border" icon.

Harry Zyx
Harry Zyx

I still use Word 2003. I work always in Print View, and keep Show All (formatting characters) turned on. The only problem I ever have in changing formatting is changing from a Page Break to an Odd or Even Page Break - but there's an inelegant workaround even for that. Do later versions of Word make my approach more difficult?

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

The inability to delete hidden characters has been a problem in MS Word since version 4.0. The only reliable method I've found to clean up the crap is to sacrifice the formatting and save the document as text.

djed
djed

Which means you don't use it. Yet you read articles about it and comment on software that's not in the article. Please stick to the subject.

draack
draack

May I add my Amen! to the mix!? And WordPerfect isn't just for writers ... as an office manager who has worked my way up through the ranks, I've found it to be my program of choice and keep both on my laptop at home. My only frustration is that *so* often I can cut and paste WP info into a Microsoft-based program the MS-based program will not allow me to paste it into the screen. I'm using WPOffice 10 (I think) ... is there a newer version that is more compatible with the newer versions of Word, etc.?

jfberry
jfberry

WordPerfect is such a better word processing program that all serious writers should compose using it.

Madsmaddad
Madsmaddad

Thank You. That worked. another little tip in there is that on the borders and shading menu, the box in the bottom right hand says Paragraph, and I selected a region of about a paragraph in the Preview box. All cleared, and I am a happy bunny now.

RudHud
RudHud

... but not to write original compositions. And the subject is "How to delete a page break in Word". My solution, "Use WordPerfect and avoid all problems of this sort," is much simpler than the one proposed.

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