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Microsoft Word/Disappearing section breaks


Hi Suzanne,
I am editing a large technical document.  I've used section breaks for years to separate TOC page numbering from Chapter numbering.  Mysteriously, I am having an issue where I lose the next page section break following the TOC when I update fields.  Every time.  Which then screws up the page numbering.  I can't figure out what changed.  Something in a style?  What would make this happen?
Any thoughts or suggestions extremely appreciated!
Lisa Young

Not at all surprising. The TOC field is a "greedy" field that tends to grab whatever follows it. That's why following a TOC is one of the few places where I recommend adding an empty paragraph. If you display the TOC field (Alt+F9) after inserting the section break, you may well find that the section break has gotten inside the field; when you update the field, it's "garbage" that gets thrown out. (You will certainly notice that the paragraph break that appears to be outside the TOC field is actually inside it.)

So make sure there's at least one empty paragraph between the TOC and what follows and that you insert the section break AFTER that empty paragraph, and I think you'll find you're back on track.
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Suzanne S. Barnhill


I've been using Word for Windows since version 2.0 (1992), and the more I learn about it, the more I realize how little I know. But I may know a few things that you don't, and I'll help if I can. I answer many questions every day in Microsoft's peer support forums and as a result have been awarded the MVP (Most Valuable Professional) designation by Microsoft Corporation. You may be able to find the answer to your question at the Word MVPs' FAQ site or at my own Word FAQ site, so please check those first! Please, no questions about VBA (macros), Registry editing, networks, or complex merges, as I have no experience with these aspects of Word, nor do I have any experience with Word for Mac. Please indicate which version of Word you are using; if you are not sure, see "What version of Word do I have?".


I have a master's degree in classics (Latin), which is surprisingly helpful, though I no longer teach. The things I am proudest of: Having raised two children to maturity, both Merit Scholars, both college graduates (one a philosophy major!), one Phi Beta Kappa (from Harvard!); having been made a Paul Harris Fellow by my Rotary club; having been designated a Microsoft MVP.

Rotary Club of Fairhope, Friends of the Fairhope Public Library

B.A. (Latin), Agnes Scott College, 1966; M.A. (Classics), Emory University, 1972.

Awards and Honors
Microsoft Most Valuable Professional award every year since 1999; many Rotary honors

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