How to prevent Microsoft Word 2010 from inserting automatic page breaks after every section break

I created this page because, after many years of experience which led to expertise in Word 2007, I sometimes find myself at a loss with all the weird, inexplicable, and annoying changes Microsoft made with Word 2010—as of the day I’m writing this I’ve been using it for less than a month! I’m pretty sure they make all these obnoxious changes so that they can sell training services and instruction manuals.

Over the past nearly 20 years I’ve frequently created documents which contained sections of multiple columns interspersed between pages of regular text—and never had a problem, until now. I was happily typing along and had just finished up a section I wanted to have formatted in two columns. So I did what I’ve been doing for years—I highlighed the text I wanted to format, clicked the columns icon, and selected two columns—And the page broke and the columns ended up on the next page, leaving only a few lines at the top of the previous page, where they were supposed to appear! I later noticed that this also occurs when placing regular section breaks, as well.

Microsoft Office Help was absolutely no help—it didn’t even reference this issue at all—it will tell you how to add and delete a section break, but not how to make it not insert an automatic page break. After much searching on the web to no avail, I sat down and started clicking on everything until I found it. Here’s the solution:

1. Go to the Page Layout tab and click on the expansion symbol for Page Setup:

[Illustration 1]

2. When the dialog box pops up, select the Layout tab, then, under Section, change “Section start:” to “Continuous”—That’s it! Click OK and you’re done!

[Illustration 2]

It occurs to me that I should offer a caveat with these instructions; if possible, do this before you type your document, otherwise you may make all of your section starts continuous. If you do end up blowing away all the page breaks that you wanted, you can put them back in manually.