Removing Extra Breaks in Word Documents

Delete page breaks fast

Student working on laptop.

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Changing a document's formatting in Word is usually fairly easy. However, you can run into complications. For example, you may not have used the formatting options to specify the spacing between paragraphs or lines of text. Instead, you may have inserted extra returns. Fortunately, you don't have to delete the page to remove line breaks in Word.

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

Remove Line Breaks in Word: Show Section Breaks

A quick way to find section breaks is to tell Word to show them in your document.

  1. Select Show/Hide in the Paragraph group of the Home tab. Alternatively, use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+* (or Ctrl+Shift+8).

    Screenshot of Show/Hide Paragraph Marks
  2. In Windows for Mac, select Show all nonprinting characters on the Home tab.

  3. All section breaks will become visible in your document.

    Screenshot of Section Break in Word
  4. Place the cursor to the left of break you want to remove and press Delete.

  5. Select the option again when you want to hide the section breaks.

Remove Line Breaks in Word Using Find and Replace

You can also use the Find and Replace tool to delete extra breaks in your document.

  1. Select Replace in the Editing group of the Home tab. Alternatively, press Ctrl + H to open the Find and Replace dialog box.

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

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

    In Word for Mac, enter ^p^p in the Search box.

    Screenshot of ^p^p in Find What box in Word
  3. In the second box, enter ^p.

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

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

This will replace two paragraph breaks with one. You can specify other options, depending on the number of paragraph breaks you'd like between paragraphs. You can also replace a paragraph break with another character if you choose.

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. Not to worry, there is a solution:

  1. Press Ctrl + H to open the Find and Replace dialog box.

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

  2. In the first box, enter ^l (the "l" must be lower case).

    In Word for Mac, enter ^l in the Search box.

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

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

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