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How to quickly rearrange pages in Microsoft Word

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Moving entire pages takes a bit of effort because Microsoft Word doesn’t recognize them. It’s a bit awkward unless you know these three techniques for rearranging pages in Word.

Image: dennizn/Adobe Stock

Rearranging content in a Microsoft Word document is easy most of the time. You can quickly select sentences, paragraphs, graphics and so on and then cut and paste or move the selection up or down using Shift + Alt + Up/Down. These are only a few of the many ways Word helps you move content.

The one element Word doesn’t support autonomously is the page. There’s no quick-click selection for selecting and moving a page. In this tutorial, I’ll show you three easy ways to rearrange Word pages.

SEE: Windows, Linux, and Mac commands everyone needs to know (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

I’m using Microsoft 365 on a Windows 10 64-bit system, but you can use earlier versions. Word for the web supports these methods. The Navigation Pane is available in Word 365 through Word 2007. The Clipboard history is available in Word 365 through Word 2013. Only the first method will work in the older .doc format.

How to move a page using Windows’ cut and paste feature

It’s easy to jump right to Windows’ classic cut and paste feature when moving data, but doing so can be a bit awkward when moving pages. Because cut and paste is a standard, let’s use it to move a page in Word:

  1. Enable Word’s Show/Hide feature by pressing Show/Hide in the Paragraph group on the Home tab. Doing so displays hard page breaks, making it easier to locate and move pages.
  2. Position the cursor at the beginning of the current page by pressing Ctrl + Home.
  3. Select the entire page. There are two ways to do so:
    1. If you prefer a mouse selection, hold down the left mouse key and drag to the end of the page. This method is quick if you can see the entire page on screen. Be sure to include the hard page break at the bottom of the page if there is one (Figure A). If you leave it, you’ll leave an empty page.
    2. Hold down the Shift key while pressing PgDn (Page Down) key. Doing so will highlight a screen at a time. Press PgDn until the selection reaches the end of the page.
  4. Press Ctrl + X to cut the page and copy it to the Clipboard. Click Ctrl + C if you don’t want to delete the content.
  5. Position the cursor where you want to copy the content to and press Ctrl + V. If you want to paste the content without the original formatting, click Paste in the Clipboard group on the Home tab and choose Keep Text Values Only from the dropdown.

Figure A

Select all the content on the page, including a hard page return if there is one.

If you’re only moving one or two pages, cut and paste is adequate. If you have a lot of rearranging to do, consider using Word’s Navigation pane

If you change your mind or make a mistake, press Ctrl + Z to undo the move.

How to move a page using the Navigation Pane in Word

Word’s Navigation Pane displays your document by Headings and Pages. For the former to work, you must use World’s built-in heading styles.

To open Word’s Navigation Pane, click the View tab and check Navigation Pane in the Show menu. Then, click Pages.

Figure B

As you can see in Figure B, Word displays a thumbnail for each page in the document. If the page you want to move begins with a built-in heading style, this is the quickest way to move an entire page. To demonstrate, do the following:

  1. Open the Navigation Pane, which defaults to displaying headers.
  2. In the Navigation Pane, click the heading that begins the page you want to move. In this case, that’s the first heading, Video. Notice that the page font color is red — that’ll matter in a minute.
  3. Drag the Video header to the end of the list. Doing so will display a bold, guiding line (Figure C).
  4. Drop the header into position.

Figure C

Drag the drop the header to move the page.

If you’re working with the demonstration Word document, you can see that the red page is now at the end of the document. The first page is green with the Themes heading. If the page you want to move doesn’t have a built-in heading at the beginning of the page, you can still use the Navigation Pane:

  1. Select the first few words or lines at the top of the page.
  2. Click a heading style in the Styles group on the Home tab. It’s only temporary.

Now, the page will show up in the Headings section in the Navigation Pane. After moving the page, remove the temporary heading style.

There’s one small catch to using the Navigation pane: The first heading shows in the Navigation Pane. If there’s a higher-level heading elsewhere on the same page, the move begins with that higher-level heading, not the first heading on the page. This is something to watch out for because there’s no way for you to know that the heading in the Navigation Pane isn’t the highest-level heading on the page.

Sometimes you might want to move multiple pages. For instance, you might want to swap the position of two or move pages. You could do that with cut and paste or the Navigation Pane, but there’s an easier way.

How to move pages using Windows’ extended Clipboard in Word

At this point, you’ve learned two easy ways to move one page at a time in a Word document. Now let’s focus on a method that lets you move multiple pages quickly — the extended Clipboard, also known as the Clipboard history. To use this feature to swap two pages or several pages, do the following:

  1. Using the cut and paste method above, cut the first page to the Clipboard.
  2. Repeat this process to cut the next page to the Clipboard.
  3. Position your cursor where you want the first cut page to be.
  4. Press the Windows key + V to open the Clipboard history (Figure D). Or click the Clipboard group’s dialog launcher.
  5. In the history pane, click the page you want to insert at the cursor position.
  6. Position your cursor where you want to insert the second page that you cut.
  7. In the history pane, click the page you want to insert at the cursor position.

Figure D

Use the Clipboard history to move several pages at once.

Repeat the steps above to move as many pages as you like. Using the Clipboard history, you can move many pages at the same time. To learn more about the Clipboard history, read How to get more out of your Clipboards in Microsoft Office.

Your version of Word might limit you to the first method. However, if you have a recent version, the Clipboard history is probably the quickest method and eliminates the problem of moving a section of a page when the heading at the beginning of the page isn’t the highest-level heading on the page.

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