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Why your pages break in weird places

Unless otherwise noted, all instructions and screenshots are from Microsoft Office for Windows.

We have this recurring problem where I work.  I bet you have it, too.

Sometimes, our Word documents (particularly when they’ve been generated by our time & billing software) leave huge gaps of white space between a heading and the text that’s supposed to go right under it by mysteriously breaking the page right after the heading.

Except, there’s no page break!  No one’s inserted a hard page break anywhere — the document’s just stubbornly refusing to put text that will clearly fit on page 1 on page 2.

What’s going on?

It’s Block Protect gone bad, that’s what.  And it’s really easy to fix.  So stop scratching your head and do this instead:

  • Hit CNTRL-A to highlight the entire document.
  • Go to Format, Paragraph.
  • Click on the Line and Page Breaks tab


See how all those check marks under Pagination (Widow/Orphan control, Keep with next, Keep lines together) look grey?  That means that some of your text is block protected and some isn’t.

I could lead you through the whole diagnostic process, show you the “reveal codes” view and let you see what’s happening.  But, hey, we’re both in a hurry — let’s just fix the sucker and move on to bigger and better things.  (I promise, I’ll do the long “here’s what’s happening” video on this later.)

  • Uncheck all those boxes.  You might have to click twice to get rid of the check marks.
  • Click OK to go back to your document.

Voila!  No more weird page breaks!

Of course, you might have to go through your document to make sure you don’t have any widows and orphans, headers at the bottoms of pages, etc., in which case you’ll want to turn block protect on for that small section of text.  But at least you’ll have a clean slate to work with.

by Deborah Savadra

I spend an inordinate amount of my time playing with computers and attempting to explain technology to lawyers and law office staff. It's not always easy, but someone's got to do it.

WOW – You read that whole post!

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  1. I have been looking for solutions to this for MONTHS. I officially love you.

  2. Perfect, this worked like a charm! Thank you so much.

  3. I’m sorry to report that this did not work for me. Any other idea???

    1. Does your document have any other types of breaks, like manual page breaks, section breaks, etc.? See the sequel to this post ( for some strategies for diagnosing the problem.

      1. I’ve tried the above procedures and they don’t work. My problem usually occurs when I generate letters from a database system. However, there have been other types of documents that have the same problem.

        1. Your database system could be generating some other kind of break, like a next page section break. This is why it’s important to use the Show/Hide button as a diagnostic tool.

  4. This was awesome! I needed this help so badly. You just solved a problem I’ve been having for a decade! Thank you infinitely.

  5. OH MY GOD, THANK YOU SO MUCH! You just made my day.

  6. I’ve literally had this problem for years. Comes up only every now and then, but when it does, it’s a doozy. This is especially a problem when editing company documents (documents that have been formatted/re-formatted every which way). Kudos to you, you really helped me out.

  7. Thank you very much. I was trying to figure this out and word’s help was no help at all. This solvedf my weird page table breaking issue. If you’re ever in Orlando FL look me up and I’ll buy you a beer.

  8. Thank you very much. I was trying to figure this out and word’s help was no help at all. This solved my weird page table breaking issue. If you’re ever in Orlando FL look me up and I’ll buy you a beer.

  9. Schöner post:)

  10. Thank you. So glad I found this.

  11. What’s Taking place i am new to this, I stumbled upon this I’ve discovered It positively helpful and it has aided me out loads.
    I’m hoping to contribute & assist other customers like its helped me.
    Good job.

  12. Wasted so many ours trying to fix this before…this works, amazing thankyou!