Word 2007 for Writers: Part 4 – Fun with Sections
Chances are, you’ve learned how to insert page breaks into Word documents (Insert > Page Break, just in case). This is useful for, say, adding a “Works Cited” page at the end of a document.
But you might have seen another kind of “break” while moving through Word’s menus. They’re in a different place for some reason — go to the Page Layout tab and look at the “Page Setup” section and you’ll see a drop-down marked “Breaks”. Here you’ll find several different ways to insert section breaks:
- Next page: Inserts a section break and moves you to the next page. Useful for starting a new chapter.
- Continuous: Inserts a section break but keeps you on the same page. Useful when writing copy that you don’t know the end-formatting for, such as something that will eventually end up as a sidebar.
- Even Page: Inserts a section break and jumps you to the next even page. Useful for booklets.
- Odd Page: Inserts a section break and jumps you to the next odd page. Useful for book layouts, where you always want the chapters to start on the odd (right-hand) page.
A section is more than just a page break, though. What makes them especially powerful is that you can apply styles to each section individually.
Let’s say, for instance, that you want to include an appendix in your book, but you’d like the text to be smaller than the rest of the book, and all the headings and indented quotes and everything else to be scaled accordingly. You can define a new style for the appendix with smaller font sizes for every element, and apply it only to that section. This is incredibly useful for bibliographies, where, for instance, you might want to use hanging paragraphs (where the first line is aligned to the margin but all subsequent lines are indented one or two tabs).
The options for working with sections don’t stop at styles, though. In fact, just about everything you can customize for a document as a whole you can customize individually for each section within a document. It’s as if you were stringing together several documents, each with its own style sheet.
So your cover page can be styled one way, your front matter another, your body chapters a third, your index a fourth, and so on. Each section can be individually paginated, which means you can have no page numbers on your cover page(s), lowercase Roman numerals (i, ii, iii, iv…) on your preface and introduction pages, and traditional numbering on all your chapters. (Go to “Insert > Page Numbers > Format Page Numbers” and check or uncheck the “Continue from Previous Section” option as needed.)
Other things you can do with sections:
- Insert a page in landscape layout: Set your cursor in the section you want to change the layout of, go to “Page Layout > Orientation” and choose “Landscape”.
- Insert a multi-columned page or pages: Again, set your cursor in the section you want to reformat, go to “Page Layout > Columns” and select the column layout you want.
- Remove section breaks: On the Home tab, click the “Paragraph” button (the one that looks like a backwards “P” — the popup says “Show/Hide”) to show all the layout codes in your document. Set your cursor before a section break and hit “Delete”.
Sections + Styles = Table of Contents
Here’s something neat you can do with longer documents. Assuming you’ve been good with applying styles — Heading 1 for chapter titles, Heading 2 for chapter sections, etc. — you can have Word automatically generate a Table of Contents. For some reason this is under “References”.
Create a new section near the front of your document (duh, right?). Set your cursor at the top, and click the “Table of Contents” button on the “References” tab. You can select one of the pre-defined styles, or you can click “Insert Table of Contents” to bring up a dialog to adjust the settings.
Decide how many levels you want to appear in your table of contents — if you want just the chapter titles, select “1”, for chapter titles and sub-heads, select “2”, to add sub-sub-heads select “3”. It will use your “Heading 1” text for the first level, “Heading 2” for the second, “Heading 3” for the third — creating an outline of the book based on your styled text. Pretty neat, huh?
Up next: a grab-bag of proofreading and editing tricks in Word 2007. Stay tuned, as always!