How to Manage Long Documents in Microsoft Word

When writing long documents in Microsoft Word it may be necessary to include a cover page or a table of contents. You may also want to include a manual page break at certain points in your document. This entry in our Productivity Series will show you how to manage long documents more effectively.

Inserting a Cover Page and Blank Pages

To make your document look professional you’ll need a cover page and a few well-placed blank pages. The blank pages will help break up the monotony of lengthy text and can help differentiate major sections of a document.

Inserting a Cover Page

  1. Position the insertion point at the beginning of the text on your first page of your document
  2. On the Insert tab, in the Pages group, select Cover Page from the drop-down menu.


From the built-in gallery, select a cover page layout that you like. To edit or alter the design you can go to the Design tab for design options. From here you can quickly change the font, add color to text or to the background and add a page border or effects.

Inserting a Blank Page after the Cover Page

  1. Click in the cover page away from any fields
  2. On the Insert tab, in the Pages group, select Blank Page. Word inserts a blank page after the cover page.
  3. Save your changes.

Please note: When the cursor is in any of the fields on the cover page, in the Pages group, the Blank Page button is not available.

Adding a Manual Page Break

As you build your document, Word inserts an automatic page break and starts a new page when needed. To force a page break at a specific location, you can insert a manual page break.

Please note: An automatic page break is indicated by a dotted line. A manual page break is a dotted line labeled “Page Break.” See below.

To insert a manual page break, follow these steps:

  1. Click in the document where you want to insert a page break.
  2. Click Layout > Breaks > Page.


Removing a Manual Page Break

Although you can't remove the page breaks that Word automatically inserts, you can remove manual page breaks from your document.

  1. On the Home tab, click Show all non-printing characters.
  2. Click to select the page break you want to remove.

3. Press Delete

Inserting a Table of Contents

Most readers don’t have time to read every book or report cover to cover. The table of contents helps the reader quickly find the topics they want without leafing through the entire document. It can also give the reader an idea of what major topics are covered in the text. Like other reference tables in Word, the table of contents remains up-to-date whenever the document’s text or pagination changes.

A table of contents (TOC) is a list of headings with corresponding page numbers. When a table of contents is generated, any text formatted using the built-in Heading styles is automatically included in the listing. Word indents the headings based on the Heading style of the text.

Inserting the Table of Contents

  1. Add a blank page after the title page. This is where you will insert your table of contents.
  2. On the References tab, in the Table of Contents group, select Table of Contents. From here you have options to Customize the look of your TOC (or remove it if need be).
  3. Select OK.
  4. Observe the table of contents. All of the text formatted as Heading 1 is listed in the TOC in bold and all of the text formatted as Heading 2 is indented under the Heading 1 item that comes before it in the document.

Modify the Font for the First-Level Entries in the Table of Contents

  1. On the References tab, in the Table of Contents group, select Table of Contents > Custom Table of Contents. 
  2. In the General section, from the Formats drop-down list, select From template
  3. Select Modify.
  4. In the Style dialog box, in the Styles list box. verify that TOC 1 is selected and select Modify.
  5. In the Modify Style dialog box, in the Formatting section, from the Font drop-down list, select your desired font and weight. Click OK to close the Modify Style dialog box.
  6. Select OK to close the Style dialog box.
  7. Select OK to close the Table of Contents dialog box.
  8. In the Microsoft Word dialog box, select Yes to replace the existing table of contents.
  9. Observe the changes to the table of contents. The modified style is applied to the TOC with your chosen font. 

10. Save the document. 

Hopefully this article will help you manage long document in Word more effectively. For more instructional tips download our eBook, Top 20 Microsoft Office Productivity Tips

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NH Learning SolutionsDebra Novara

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