Change the orientation of one page in Word

I get asked about once a month how to make part of a document landscape in Word, while leaving the rest of the document in portrait. Or how to change the orientation of one page in Word. In Microsoft Word, it’s not difficult, but it’s anything but obvious. Here’s how to landscape part of a Word document, whether it’s one page or multiple pages.

This is useful when the document contains an image that’s wider than it is tall, and you need to make it fill the page to make it easier to see.

There are buttons on the ribbon to switch between portrait and landscape. But they switch the whole document, not your selection or the page you’re on. I’m sure you have already tried that. Here’s how to switch it for part of the document.

First, go to the end of the page just prior to the page you want to turn to re-orient.

Insert a section break

Change the orientation of one page in Word - insert a break
The first step is to insert a couple of section breaks around the part of the document you want landscape.

The first step is to insert a section break. You do this from the ribbon at the top of the window.

First, click on Page Layout, then click on Breaks. From that dropdown, scroll to Section Breaks, and select Next Page.

See the image above if you get lost.

Then go to the end of the section you want switched to landscape and do the same thing–click on Breaks, scroll to Section Breaks, and select Next Page.

Bring up page setup

Change the orientation of one page in Word - the magic word is this arrow
This obscure arrow is the key to the whole process to landscape part of a Word document.

Now click the tiny little arrow in the lower-right hand portion of the Page Layout section of the ribbon. The hardest part of the whole process is knowing what that arrow is and what it does. It’s really easy to not even notice that arrow is there.

Word responds by bringing up the old-fashioned Page Setup dialog, mostly unchanged since early versions of Word from the 1990s.

change the orientation of one page in Word by selecting Landscape from this dialog box.
Once you find the magic utterance to bring up this dialog box, you’re almost done. You just have to change two settings and click OK.

At this point you just have to change two things.

Select Landscape under Orientation, then at the bottom of the dialog box where it says Apply To, select This Section. Click OK.

Congratulations. Now part of your document is in landscape mode.

Now you probably have some cleaning up to do. But there’s a way to make that easier.

Cleaning up the document

Chances are you have some extra blank pages in the document now too, or at least some blank lines you don’t want.

Click Home on the ribbon, then click the little paragraph mark to reveal the document codes. To clean those up, go to the pages immediately preceding the extra blank pages. Move to the end, and delete empty lines until those extra pages go away, being careful not to delete your section breaks. Click the paragraph mark again when you’re done.

change the orientation of one page in Word - cleanup
Make cleaning up the document easier by showing the formatting so you don’t accidentally delete too much.

If there’s an easy way to change one page to landscape without creating those blank pages, I haven’t found it. At least you can delete them in a few seconds.

And that’s how you change the orientation of one page in Word, or set a single page of a Word document to landscape while leaving the rest in portrait.

2 thoughts on “Change the orientation of one page in Word

  • November 19, 2011 at 6:05 pm
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    Why I still like WordPerfect – just go to the top of the page you want in landscape, click format, page setup, and landscape – do the same at the top of the next page, or wherever you want to change back, and select portrait. I will never forgive Novell for taking a year or more out of the development life of WP during the critical period of moving to Windows.

    • November 19, 2011 at 6:26 pm
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      Wordperfect will maintain at least some sort of following for as long as they hold to the traditional menu/toolbar interface. Once Microsoft decrees that Office 2003 won’t run on future versions of Windows (it’ll eventually happen), I’ll switch to Wordperfect at home. I’ve always been more comfortable in Word–prior to the ribbon–but the day Microsoft forces the ribbon on me at home is the day I switch to something else, whether that’s Wordperfect or Libre Office.

      This operation was clumsy even in Word 2003, but not this clumsy. Nothing was. The problem I have with the ribbon is that it’s no longer possible to become a power user just by using the product for 6-12 months. After four years of using Office 2007, I’m still as much of a beginner as I was on day 3.

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