Formatting in Microsoft Word can get funky. Here are four ways to delete any blank page in Word documents and manage your invisible page breaks.
In Microsoft Word documents, unwanted pages – usually blank pages – are a common mishap. When entering content from the keyboard, pressing Ctrl + Enter is the manual method to force a new page, and while I recommend you don’t use that method, most Word documents have some hard page breaks. . Considering how easy it is to get a blank page, you’d expect Word to provide an easy way to delete a page regardless of how it’s inserted, but there’s no quick-click option that will do this. In this article, I will show you four ways to delete an unwanted page in a Word document.
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I use Microsoft 365 on a Windows 10 64-bit system, but you can use an earlier version. For your convenience, you can download the demonstration .docx and .doc files. Word for the web does not support the navigation pane method. In fact, Word for the web doesn’t display the entire blank page like the desktop version does — it’s hard to select a blank page. However, Show/Hide is available.
As you go through the different methods, don’t forget to use Ctrl + Z to undo pages between sections, so you always have a blank page to delete.
Finding page breaks in Word
Word supports two types of page breaks: a hard page break, which is entered by pressing Ctrl + Enter, and a soft page break, which is entered by Word to wrap text in the right margin. The only way to remove the latter is to remove characters before or after it. Either way, there will be a soft return somewhere in the mix as the text runs to the top of the next page. You can sometimes adjust where a soft return occurs, but you don’t actually remove them. This discussion is about hard page breaks.
If you’re working with page breaks, try turning on Word’s Show/Hide feature. Doing so will display both hard page and section breaks so you can easily find and remove them. Image A displays a three-page document with two page breaks.
You’ll find this option on the Home tab in the Paragraph group. Once you find the page breaks, you can easily remove them as long as you work with just a few.
1. How to use Ctrl + Page Up hotkey in Word?
To display a single page, regardless of its content, place the cursor at the beginning of the page following the page you want to delete and press Delete. In other words, if you want to delete page 2 of your document, you need to go to the top of page 3 and press Delete. This works because the last character or code before the next page has be a page break. Unfortunately, there is no shortcut to move the cursor to the top of the current page, so you have to manually position the cursor yourself.
The Ctrl + Page Up might be a little help, but it goes to the top of the last page. This means that you can use this shortcut if the page is really blank. Even then, you may experience problems if there are paragraph marks before the page break. If the page has content, including blank lines, Ctrl + Page Up will not work as expected. Fortunately, there is an easier method.
2. How to use the navigation pane to delete pages in Word?
Perhaps the easiest way to change a single page is to use Word’s navigation pane. It only requires a few clicks:
- Click the View tab, and then click Navigation Pane in the View group.
- In the navigation pane, click Pages.
- Click on the blank page (Figure B) and press Delete. You know the page is selected by the thick blue border.
If the blank page has a few paragraph marks before the page break, you must press Delete accordingly – once per paragraph mark.
Sometimes there is no difficult page break to remove; what are you doing then?
3. What to do if there is no fixed page break to delete in Word
It is possible to force a new page with hard carriage return. Figure C shows a blank page created by hard paragraph returns, also known as paragraph marks. The paragraph marks are a visual representation of pressing the Enter key.
To remove this page full of paragraph marks, select all marks (Figure C) and press Delete.
When the page you want to delete is the last page of the document, just click in the last page and start pressing Delete until you reach the bottom of the previous page.
4. Select and delete a page in Word
If you can see the page break, you can remove it without a shortcut or special panel. Just select it and press Delete. As you can see in Figure D, there are two page breaks: one at the bottom of page one and a second one at the top of page two – the blank page. In this case, select the one at the top of page 2 by clicking (twice) in the left margin next to the page break. Then press Delete.
What is curious is the page break at the bottom of page 1. It seems totally redundant. It’s a good idea to check page breaks if you find them so close to the bottom of a page and you don’t plan to force a new page. Chances are, as in this case, you can remove the page break without moving any content. This situation is more common than you might think. That’s why I recommend enabling Show/Hide when cleaning individual page breaks.
The recent article, How to quickly remove multiple page breaks in a Word document shows you how to remove multiple page breaks.