How to Start Content on a New Page or the Next Odd Page (Without Section Breaks)

AUTHOR:  JASON MORRELL 

Jason Morrell

The break types that Word provides are a fantastic way to structure a document.

But what if you want to start every heading on a new page without creating a new section each time?

Taking that idea a stage further, what if you wanted to start every heading on the NEXT ODD PAGE, without using section breaks, a popular approach for large documents?

Let's deal with each of those ideas, one at a time.

1.  Starting each new heading on a new page

This is the easy one and can be controlled with a style.

  1. Create or modify the style used for your heading (right-click the style and choose Modify).
  2. In the dialog, click the Format button and choose Paragraph.
  3. Click the Line and Page Breaks tab.
  4. Check/tick the Page Break Before box.
  5. Click OK to exit all dialogs.

Now whenever you apply the style to a heading or paragraph, it will start on a new page.

2.  Starting each new heading on an ODD page

a) Create a nested field statement with placeholders

This requires a different approach, using nested fields.

  1. Press Ctrl-F9 to insert an empty set of field braces.
    That's Cmd-F9 or Fn-Cmd-F9 on Mac, depending on your keyboard set up.
  2. Type IF.
  3. Press Ctrl-F9 / Cmd-F9 again to insert another set of field braces.
  4. Type =MOD(.
  5. Press Ctrl-F9 / Cmd-F9 again.
  6. Type PAGE.
  7. After the closing PAGE brace, type ,2).
  8. After the closing MOD brace, type = 0 "Even Page" "Odd Page"b

Your field code statement should look like this:

{ IF { =MOD( {PAGE} ,2) } = 0 "Even Page" "Odd Page" }

The spaces around the braces are important. Word is very picky and if you remove even a single space, it may fall over.

Here is how the statement works. If you are familiar with Excel, you may recognise some of these formulas.

  • The PAGE field is dynamic and calculates the current page number.
  • The MOD function returns the remainder after dividing one number by another. In this case, it divides the page number by 2. If the remainder is 0, then it is an even page. If the remainder is 1 then it is an odd page.
  • The IF field checks the result of the MOD function and displays "Odd Page" or "Even Page" accordingly. Please note that the IF function does not insert commas between the arguments, as Excel does.

B) Check that it functions correctly

To check that things are working correctly:

  1. Press Ctrl-A then Alt-F9 (or Fn-Alt-F9) to toggle from displaying the field codes to displaying the results.
  2. Press F9 (or Fn-F9) to update all fields. Hopefully, you see 'Odd Page' if you are on page 1.
  3. Place the cursor at the beginning of the document and press Ctrl Enter to insert a manual page break.
  4. Press Ctrl-A then F9 (or Fn-F9) to update the field. You should now see 'Even Page'.

c) Swap existing placeholders for a page break

Now that you understand how the statement works and you've checked it's functioning correctly, we can implement the final step.

  1. Press Ctrl-A then Alt-F9 (or Fn-Alt-F9) to display the field codes again.
  2. Remove the words Even Page, but leave the two quotation marks.
  3. Remove the words Odd Page then click the Layout tab, choose Breaks then select Page to insert a page break.

Because the field codes are still displayed, the field code statement is now split between two pages. Don’t panic! Press Ctrl-A then Alt-F9 (or Fn Alt-F9) to toggle the field codes if the OCD is too strong!

Now, whenever the statement is inserted into the document, if the current page is even it will insert a page break so that the content that follow it starts on an odd page. If the current page is odd, nothing is inserted.

d) How to make it easier to implement

To make life a little easier:

  1. Select the field code statement (but not the end paragraph marker) and copy it to the clipboard.
  2. Click the Insert tab.
  3. Click the Quick Parts icon (in the Text group).
  4. Choose Save Selection to Quick Part Gallery.
  5. Name it. Leave all other default settings. Click OK.

    Hint: Start the name with a space or AAA or 000 to put your Quick Part to the top of your list in the next step. 

Now, right before each heading that you wish to start on an odd page, you simply insert the field code statement that you wrote.

  1. On the Insert ribbon, choose Quick Parts then Building Block Organiser.
  2. Click the 'Name' column heading to sort the building blocks by name. Your building block should be listed at, or near the top of, the list.
  3. Select it to insert it.

And that's it.

You may not need to use this exact approach for your documents but you might have a variation that is close. The principles described above are sound and useful. Adapting them will open up a lot of possibilities.

It's good to explore new concepts and push the boundaries a little!

Have a fantastic day and upcoming weekend.

Please feel free to post any questions you have into the comments below. And before you leave this page, I want to give you one quick little action item! 

ACTION ITEM: Comment below with ONE thing you picked up from this post and share how it has helped, or will help, you. It's good to share your successes because it encourages others and provides an instant boost.

Enjoy the rest of your day!

Jason Morrell blog signature
About Jason Morrell

About the author

Jason Morrell


Jason loves to simplify the hard stuff, cut the fluff and share what actually works. Things that make a difference. Things that slash hours from your daily work tasks. He runs a software training business in Queensland, Australia, lives on the Gold Coast with his wife and 4 kids and often talks about himself in the third person!

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