MS Word to Kindle Quick Look: Page Breaks

“Manual”, or “hard” page breaks are a major source of bad formatting in Kindle eBooks.

Too often, they cause extra page breaks and blank pages.

Of course, that’s what “everybody” tells you to do.

Even Amazon tells you to put a page break at the end of a chapter. (Quite possibly because they don't want to get into the details of Styles.)

That works ok most of the time, but what happens when a natural page break comes at the end of a page, and you also force a “hard” break?

That’s right… you get an extra page break.

MS Word removes that uncertainty and allows us to put our page breaks exactly where we want them.

In our test file, we want each Chapter to start at the top of  a new page.

To make sure that happens, we will “Modify”  our Heading 1 Style with “page break before”.

(The software is smart enough to create a new page break only if one is needed.)

To start, open your Styles Menu with CTRL-SHIFT-S, scroll in the selection box to Heading 1, then click the Modify button just below the selection box.

The "Modify Style" box opens:


Modify Style Box Open

Now, locate and click the "Format" button at the lower left corner of the Modify Style box.

From the drop down list that appears, click "Paragraph".  

The Paragraph Box opens:

Paragraph Box Open

Now, choose "Page Break Before".  (It's near the center of the active box.)

Now, all Chapters tagged with Heading 1 will start on new pages.

If  you have other places where page breaks are needed, you can add them the same way... just add a "Page Break Before" to the Style.

For a one-time occurrence that does not warrant a Style of its own, you can add Page Break Before to a single paragraph.

Just right click on a single paragraph, choose Paragraph from the list that appears, and click Page Break Before, just as we did for Heading 1 Style.

Once you have Page Breaks properly assigned with Styles, it's time to remove all those "hard page breaks" that you put in by hand.

Press CTRL-H to display Search & Replace, then search for all page breaks... the symbol to enter is  ^m and replace with nothing.

Section Breaks will also cause page breaks, and they don't do anything good in a Kindle file.

The symbol for Section Break is ^b... so to remove all Section Breaks, search for ^b and replace with nothing.

Now we need to check to be sure all the pages of our book are flowing correctly.

MS Word has a feature that allows us to display all pages at once.

To find it, go to the View Menu, choose Zoom, then, "Many Pages".

We can now check to be sure we have no blank pages, and that our pages are in the right order.

View all Pages to Verify Placement

Next, we will build a Table of Contents.

8 comments:

  1. Do I insert page breaks only at the end of each chapter in word or at the end of every page in my word document

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  2. David,

    You don't have to worry about page breaks at the end of every page because each Kindle device will break pages according to the size of its own screen.

    In fact, don't "insert" page breaks anywhere.

    Instead, use a Style that is formatted with "page break before", as explained above, starting with this sentence:

    "In our test file, we want each Chapter to start at the top of a new page."

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi CJ,

    Thank you so much for this incredibly helpful page. It just solved my page break issues. Sigil and Calibre weren't reading my page breaks until I formatted them this way.

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  4. You are welcome, Heather!

    Let me know if you have further questions.

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  5. Great tutorial. Thanks a bunch. and using the find and replace feature, saved me loads of time. Most helpful blog post I've read in a while. Thanks.

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  6. Well the page break before solution does not seem to work for me, I still get a blank page between a filled page and the next chapter. I'm using Jutoh, so maybe that's why.

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    Replies
    1. Bart,

      I've never had any trouble with page breaks with properly-formatted Word, but I don't know anything about Jutoh... maybe that is the problem.

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