Simply cannot delete a section break. It is impossible. Cannot be done. Please prove me wrong.

Copper Contributor

So I was introduced to section breaks as a means of getting page numbering up-to-spec for book I've written (roman. numerals in the front material, arabic numerals in the book itself). I'm using the latest version of Word (16.8?) on Mac.


To my horror, I've found that it is impossible to delete section breaks once they're in my document. I have spend an entire day in Google on this subject, and every single suggestion fails. So I have enabled showing markup, so I can see page breaks, section breaks, paragraphs


I cannot select a section break. Word will not allow that. So I can't select and delete it.


I cannot put the cursor after a section break and then hit the delete button as many suggest. Word will not allow the cursor to be placed after a section break.


Putting the cursor before the section break, as other articles recommend, is just wrong. All you're doing there is deleting text before the section break.


Why is this so hard? I've lost a whole day on something that should be simple. In the screenshot from my document below, The section break simply cannot be touched.


Screenshot 2024-01-16 at 4.57.05 PM.png

8 Replies


Word is simple, if you want to write a quick letter or a recipe.

If you are trying to do a big, important project, it is not so simple.

Sections and section breaks are not editable in the mobile or online Word programs.


To delete a section break, go into Draft view where you will be able to see and delete it.

Work with a copy.

Another way is to select the area that includes the section break and use the Replace feature. Replace ^b with ^p.

A third way is to put your insertion point before the section break and press the Delete key.


Be aware that section breaks are not simply page breaks; they carry a lot of formatting. That formatting is in the section break following the material.

See What gets carried over when you start a new section?

Thanks so much for the reply. I've tried your suggestions. I had to combine them with some help from the Kindle forum and I think you and the others have led me to a solution.

I cannot find anyway to see draft mode and word help doesn't say anything about it so I couldn't go that route, I also tried putting the cursor before the break but hitting delete there just deleted the text before the break.

What ended up solving it was shutting down word, rebooting my computer, then re-opening the document and placing a few letters immediately before the section break. THEN, FINALLY, I could select both the new letters AND the section break. I'm not making this up... before rebooting the section break was never selectable.

So problem solved, though I am very wary of section breaks now. I need them, but man...

Anyway, thank you so much for the response!
Yup, facing this problem in MS Word online... I used this program after a long period (4-5 yrs?) and it has become worse?

Lesson re-learnt, MS Word is not for me.
I was starting to go down the rabbit hole of "Why can't I delete the **bleep** section break?!"

Thanks for saving me a million hours in trying to fix this annoyance!


The online program by Microsoft called "Word" is not coextensive with the desktop applications. It does not handle sections.


Sorry for the late response.

  1. You can view in Draft mode by choosing that under the View tab.
  2. Sections are a key part of how Word handles more complex documents, and yes, it can get confusing. Here are some resources that you should bookmark:



I figured out how to easily delete sections breaks and I couldn’t be happier. 


First I showed paragraph symbols under Home > Show/Hide. Then I clicked right before a section break, hold Shift + right arrow to highlight the section break, then press delete. Voila! 

Hope this works for some poor frustrated soul in the future. Cheers