Inserting Unlinked Sections

Microsoft Word, in a broad sense, has two kinds of section breaks (Insert > Break):

1. The kind that starts a new page (which includes “Next page,” “Even page,” and “Odd page).

2. The kind that doesn’t (which includes “Continuous”).

The second kind is used for such things as inserting two-column text in the middle of single-column text, all on the same page, and it doesn’t concern us here. What does concern us, as editors, is what happens when we insert a section break that starts a new page.

By default, Word “links” the headers and footers in the new section to those in the previous section. In other words, when you insert a section break, the headers and footers will be the same in the new section as in the old. If you’re working as an office assistant and spend most of your time formatting letters and reports, that might be exactly what you want. But if you’re a book editor, that’s probably *not* what you want. You probably want each section (that is, each *chapter*) to have its own headers and footers, as explained here:

In a previous newsletter, I supplied a macro that would unlink *all* headers and footers en masse:

But wouldn’t it be nice to be able to simply insert an *unlinked* section break? Here’s a macro that will do just that, using a break of the “Next page” variety:

Sub InsertUnlinkedNextpageSection()
Selection.InsertBreak Type:=wdSectionBreakNextPage
If ActiveWindow.View.SplitSpecial <> wdPaneNone Then
End If
If ActiveWindow.ActivePane.View.Type = wdNormalView Or ActiveWindow. _
ActivePane.View.Type = wdOutlineView Then
ActiveWindow.ActivePane.View.Type = wdPrintView
End If
ActiveWindow.ActivePane.View.SeekView = wdSeekCurrentPageHeader
Selection.HeaderFooter.LinkToPrevious = Not Selection.HeaderFooter. _
ActiveWindow.ActivePane.View.SeekView = wdSeekMainDocument
End Sub

If you don’t know how to use such macros, you can learn how here:

Note that you can modify the macro to insert an odd-page section break or an even-page section break, which are particularly useful in book publishing. To do so, change this line–

Selection.InsertBreak Type:=wdSectionBreakNextPage

to this–

Selection.InsertBreak Type:=wdSectionBreakOddPage

or this–

Selection.InsertBreak Type:=wdSectionBreakEvenPage

For ease of use, I’d recommend that you hook the macro to a menu, toolbar button, or keyboard shortcut, as explained here:

Then, the next time you insert a section break (using the macro, of course), it will be automatically unlinked!



You’ll find a very nice tutorial on sections, section breaks, and headers and footers at Charles Kenyon’s AddBalance website:

Especially if you work in a legal environment, you’ll find many other useful resources at the site. Don’t overlook the complete, downloadable User Guide (scroll down to the bottom of the page):

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