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How to Insert Column Breaks

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If you have read Everything You Need to Know About Columns in Word 2010 and 2007, then you learned how to insert columns, adjust the spacing between columns, and even how to add a line between your columns.

However, sometimes columns can be a bit frustrating, to say the least. You can never get your text to line up the way you want, maybe you want something specific in the right column and no matter how hard you try, you can’t make that happen, maybe you want your columns to appear even, or maybe you just want to move to a new column at the end of a section.

Using column breaks, a close kin to section breaks, gives you more freedom and flexibility with your columns!

How to Insert a Column Break

Insert a Column Break
Photo © Rebecca Johnson
A column break places a hard break, much like a page break or a section break, in the inserted location and forces the rest of the text to appear in the next column. This type of break allows you to control where the text breaks to the next column.
  1. Click where you want your column to break.
  2. Select Column Break from the Breaks drop-down menu on the Page Layout tab in the Page Setup section.

Insert a Continuous Break

Insert a Continuous Section Break
Photo © Rebecca Johnson
If you want your columns to contain an even amount of text, consider using a Continuous Break. The Continuous Break will evenly balance the text in your columns.
  1. Click at the end of the column that you want to have balanced.
  2. Select Continuous Break from the Breaks drop-down menu on the Page Layout tab in the Page Setup section.

Once you have your section break inserted, anytime you add text to a column, Microsoft Word will automatically move the text between the columns to make sure they are evenly balanced.

Delete a Break

You might have place a break in a column that you no longer need, or maybe you inherited a document with a column break that you cannot find. Deleting the Column Break or Continuous Section Break isn’t hard once you see it!
  1. Click the Show/Hide button on the Home tab in the Paragraph section to display non-printing characters.
  2. Click in the section break.
  3. Press Delete on your keyboard. Your Column Break or Continuous Section Break is removed.

Give it a Try!

Now that you have seen what Column Breaks and Continuous Section Breaks can do for you columns in a document, try using them. These breaks make adding text and formatting columns easier! Remember though, Tables are your friend and if columns are giving you a tough time, try using a table instead. They offer greater flexibility with the placement of text.
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