Removing Extra Breaks in Word Documents

Delete page breaks fast

Changing the document formatting in Word is usually fairly easy. However, there can be complications. Problems occur when extra returns are inserted in a document instead of using the formatting options to specify the spacing between paragraphs or lines of text. Don't delete the page to remove line breaks in Word, instead use these tricks to remove line breaks.

Instructions in this article apply to Word for Office 365, Word 2019, Word 2016, Word 2013, Word 2010, and Word for Mac.

Remove Line Breaks in Word: Show Section Breaks

A quick way to find section breaks is to show these breaks in the document.

  1. Go to the Home tab and, in the Paragraph group, select Show/Hide. Or, press Ctrl+* (or Ctrl+Shift+8).

    In Word for Mac, go to the Home tab and select Show all nonprinting characters.

    Word with the Show All button highlighted
  2. All section breaks become visible in the document.

    A Word document with a section break highlighted
  3. Place the cursor to the left of break you want to remove, then press Delete.

  4. Select Show/Hide to hide the section breaks.

Remove Line Breaks in Word Using Find and Replace

Use the Find and Replace tool to delete extra breaks in a document.

  1. Go to the Home tab and, in the Editing group, select Replace. Or, press Ctrl+H to open the Find and Replace dialog box.

    In Word for Mac, use the Search box in the upper-right corner of the document.

    Screenshot of Find and Replace dialog
  2. In the Find what text box, enter ^p^p (the letter p must be lower case).

    In Word for Mac, go to the Search box and enter ^p^p.

    Screenshot of ^p^p in Find What box in Word
  3. In the Replace with text box, enter ^p.

    In Word for Mac, select the magnifying glass, then select Replace. In the Replace With text box, enter ^p.

    Screenshot of ^p in Replace With box in Word
  4. Select Replace All or Replace. Or, to view the breaks before deleting them, select Find Next.

This replaces two paragraph breaks with one. You can specify other options, depending on the number of paragraph breaks between paragraphs. You can also replace a paragraph break with another character.

Remove Line Breaks in Word Containing HTML

If you copied the text from the internet, this might not work for you. That's because there are different types of breaks in HTML files.

  1. Press Ctrl+H.

    In Word for Mac, use the Search box in the upper-right corner of the document.

  2. In the Find and Replace dialog box, go to the Find what text box and enter ^l (the lowercase letter L).

    In Word for Mac, go to the Search box and enter ^l.

    Screenshot of ^l in Find What box in Word
  3. In the Replace With text box, enter ^p.

    In Word for Mac, select the magnifying glass, and then select Replace. In the Replace With text box, enter ^p.

    Screenshot of ^p in the Replace With box.
  4. Select Replace All or Replace. To view the breaks before deleting them, select Find Next.