Working with Page Breaks in Microsoft Excel

Sep 19, 2019 | Excel Hints and Tips

Where do Page Breaks go?

In Excel the page breaks naturally fall when you run out of room on the page.  At this point Excel pushes the next row or column of data onto the next page.  But what if this is not what you want to happen.

Image of page break preview

There are 2 ways to alter page breaks:

Moving existing Page Breaks

Image of page break preview icon

By changing the view to Page Break Preview you can see where the page breaks are and move them.  Page Break Preview can be accessed from the bottom right corner of the screen where there are 3 icons.  The third is Page Break Preview.  Alternatively it’s the second icon on the View tab.

You will now see dotted blue lines which show where the default page breaks currently are.  These can be moved by hovering over the line until the cursor becomes a double-ended arrow, then clicking and dragging to the required place.  At this point the line becomes solid denoting a forced page break (one which we have determined).

Adding new Page Breaks

Image of breaks icon

In addition, or instead, page breaks can be added manually.  They will be added above and to the left of the cell you are in when you choose to add them.  The option is used by going to the Page Layout tab, choosing the Page Break icon and Insert Page Break.  If a whole row or column is selected instead of an individual cell then the page break will only occur horizontally or vertically respectively as it still follows the rule of inserting above and to the left.

Removing Page Breaks

Remove page breaks works in much the same way as insert page breaks but removes them instead!  You must be located in the correct cell as the page break removed will be above and to the left of the cell you are in.  This option is also located from the Page Break icon.

Resetting Page Breaks

If you make a mess of the page breaks and want to reset them back to where they were originally so you can start again then resetting is a good idea.  Once again this is found in the Page Break icons choices.

Viewing Page Breaks in Normal View

Although you move page breaks from the Page Break Preview view they can still be seen in the normal view (the view we use most of the time in Excel).  To return to the normal view click on the 1st icon at the bottom right of the screen or on the View tab.  The page break will show up in slightly different ways depending on the version of the software you are using.  Either a dotted line or a slightly thicker line shows where the pages breaks currently are.  They cannot be moved in this view but can be inserted, removed or reset.

Want to learn more about Excel then email to discuss how I can help or have a look at the Excel Courses I run.