How to prevent a split Table in Word


Posted: April 7, 2022

Are you having trouble with your Word Table splitting?

Are you wanting to prevent your Table breaking in between sentences and paragraphs in the same row?

If this sounds like you then you have come to the right place.

Having your Table break onto multiple pages is a common issue but there are easy ways to solve it.

In this blog I’ll cover several ways to keep your Word Table from splitting across pages along with a super tip on how you can repeat the Header Row when a Table breaks on to another page, AND tips on how to distribute rows when you are left with a large gap when a Table split is unavoidable.

When a Word Table breaks across pages

Below is an example of a Table splitting in Word, where you can see the second row of the Table is splitting and continuing on page 2.

Not only can the break make it difficult to read the information in the Table, but it doesn’t look that great either.

In our example the row holding information about ‘Option 1’ has been split over 2 pages. Additionally, the Table headings have remained on page 1, leaving the rows on the following pages with no headings at all.

Word table split in-between first paragraph in table with Header Row and caption on first page

Let’s look at how we can easily stop Word from splitting a Table across pages.

1. Stop a Table row breaking across pages

It’s common for a Table row to split across pages.

You can try resizing your columns to see if a wider column allows the row to stay on one page, or you can tell Word that the row must not be split.

To prevent your Word Table row splitting across pages follow these steps.

Step 1: Click into the Table row that is breaking on to the next page.

Word table split onto two pages with red arrow pointing to the second table row under the Header row as it is breaking

Step 2: Right-click and select Table Properties from the list.

Pop up list with mouse over Table Properties

Step 3: In the Table Properties dialogue box, select the Table tab.

Table Properties dialogue box in the Table tab with preferred width, Left and Around all selected

Step 4: Under Text Wrapping, check that the option is set to None.

Table Properties dialogue box in the Table tab with preferred width, Left and None all selected

Step 5: Go to the Rows tab and uncheck the Allow row to break across pages option.

Important: if you skip to Step 4 without checking Step 3 you may find your Word Table row will still be breaking across pages.

Note: Removing Allow row to break across pages means you don’t want the row of your Table to break on to a new page.

Table Properties dialogue box in the Row tab with a red arrow pointing to an unselected box next to Allow row to break across page

Step 6: Click OK.

Table properties dialogue box with Allow row to break across page unselected and a red box around OK

The entire row should now be on the new page.

Table break in Word with all rows on the second page but Header Row and caption on the top page

This option is great when you are wanting to stop a single row from splitting on to the next page.

However, when you need to keep paragraphs outside of the Table, like captions, or certain rows together on the same page you may like to use fixes 2 & 3 below.

2. Keep external paragraphs and selected rows on the same page as the Table

In our example, the Table caption and the Heading Row are still left on the previous page.

This can make it more difficult for others to read the information in the Table and understand what it relates to.

It also will result in any cross-references to the Table caption incorrectly referencing the page that the caption is on when most of the Table is on the following page.

If this is happening to you and you want certain paragraphs and headings on the same page as the Table, follow the steps below.

Step 1: Select everything that needs to stay together. In our example we will select the paragraph that holds the caption, along with row 1 and row 2.

Breaking table in Word with all rows but the Header Row on the next page and the Header Row, Caption and first table row are selected

Step 2: On the Home tab, select the dialogue box launcher for the Paragraph Settings which is shown as a little arrow at the bottom right of the Paragraph area.

Home tab on Word Ribbon with the Paragraph Settings dialogue box launcher shown in red box

This will open the Paragraph Settings dialogue box.

Paragraph dialogue box in the Indents and Spacing tab

Step 3: Select the Line and Page Breaks tab.

Paragraph dialogue box in the Line and Page Breaks tab with the Line and Page Breaks tab outlined with red box

Step 4: Click the option Keep with next.

Note: Keep with next means the caption and Header Row will travel with the next paragraph of information.

Paragraph dialogue box in the Line and Page breaks tab with keep with next ticked and outlined with red box

Step 5: Select OK.

Paragraph dialogue box in the Line and Page Breaks tab with Widow/Orphan control and Keep with next selected and Ok outlined with a red box

The selected information will now travel together and stay on the same page.

In our example the caption paragraph, the Header Row and the 2nd row of the Table are now on the same page.

Table in Word on the same page with the Caption Paragraph and Header row labelled as Caption and Row 1

Tip: Show/Hide characters are good to have turned on if you are trying to identify where parts of your Table have a pagination setting, such as Keep with Next.

If you want to turn these on go to the Home tab and select Show/Hide.

Home tab on the Word Ribbon with the Show/Hide button outlined with a red box

In our example, with Show/Hide turned on you can see little black squares to the left of our paragraphs.

These symbols show we have applied a pagination setting. In this case, the Keep with next setting.

Little black squares next to Caption, Row 1 and Row 2 shown by red arrows

3. Prevent a page break from separating a row from the next row

When you want to keep related rows together on the same page do the following:

Step 1: Select the rows you want to keep together on the same page .

Row 3 and 4 are selected

Step 2: On the Home tab, select the dialogue box launcher for the Paragraph Settings which is shown as a little arrow at the bottom right of the Paragraph area. 

Step 3: Select the Line and Page Breaks tab.

Paragraph dialogue box in the Line and Page breaks tab which is shown by a red box

Step 4: Click the option Keep with next.

Paragraph dialogue box in the Line and Page Breaks tab

Step 5: Select OK.

The selected rows will now travel together and stay on the same page.

Repeating the Header Row on every page of the Table

In our example we now have an orphaned row on a new page without a Header Row.

This makes it very difficult for readers to understand what the information within the orphaned row represents.

To fix this we can tell Word to repeat the Header row from the following page on to any new pages the Table travels on to.

There are two different options that we can use to repeat the Header row of a Table.

Option #1 Repeat Header row on every page setting in Table Properties

In this option we will use the Table Properties to repeat the Header Row on each page.

To do this, follow the steps below.

Step 1: Click into Header Row.

Top of Word Table with the insert bar in the Header Row

Step 2: Right-click and select Table Properties.

Pop up list with mouse over Table Properties

Step 3: Go to the Row tab and select Repeat as header row at the top of each page.

Table Properties dialogue box in the Row tab with Repeat as header row at the top of each page ticked and shown in a red box

Step 4: Select OK.

Table Properties dialogue box in the Row tab with Allow row to break across page and Repeat as header row at the top of each page select and OK shown in red box

The header should now be repeated at the top every page that contains the Table.

Word table on two pages and the Header on the second page two shown with a label saying "Heading also on next page"

Option #2 Repeat Header row on every page button on the Layout tab

In this option we use the Layout tab to repeat the Header Row on each page.

You can do this following the steps outlined below.

Step 1: Click the Header Row.

Insert bar in the Header Row of Word Table

Step 2: Go to Layout tab.

Word Ribbon with Layout tab selected and the mouse pointing to Layout

Step 3: Select Repeat Header Rows.

Layout tab on Word Ribbon with mouse over Repeat Header Rows button

The header should now be repeating on all pages that contain the Table.

You can also turn it off by selecting Repeat Header Rows again.

Tips for balancing Table rows

In our example for fix number 2, the bottom row of our Table split on to the next page due to the Title row and caption being moved onto the same page as the Table.

Word table breaking with the last Table row splitting onto next page

To ensure the entire row is included on the page we can repeat the steps we have already covered in fix number 1 and then balance the row height.

Step 1: Click into the row.

Last Table row breaking onto next page with insert bar in the breaking row

Step 2: Right-click and select Table Properties.

Pop up list with the mouse over Table Properties

Step 3: Go to the Row tab.

Table Properties dialogue box in the Table tab with the Row tab outlined by a red box

Step 4: Unselect Allow row to break across page.

Table Properties dialogue box in the Row tab with Allow row to break across pages unselected and shown by a red box

Step 5: Select OK.

Table Properties dialogue box in the Row tab with Allow row to break across page unselected and the OK button shown in a red box

The entire row will now be pushed onto the next page.

Word Table with the entire row being pushed onto the next page

However, the Table rows are now unbalanced and there is a large gap at the bottom of Table on the previous page.

If you don’t like the gap that is left between rows, you can play around with line and paragraph spacing to see if you can fit it onto one page or minimise the gap size.

Here are some helpful tips to get your Table rows more balanced on the page.

Tip #1 Use Distribute Rows

To balance the Table rows so that they are equal height select the Table rows you want to distribute evenly and then from the Layout tab click Distribute Rows.

Layout tab on Word Ribbon with the mouse pointing to the Distribute Rows button

The rows of your Table will distribute equally.

Word table with the Rows all distributed evenly

Tip #2 Change the Line and Paragraph spacing within the rows

You can also increase the Line and Paragraph spacing options to increase the amount of space used inside a Table row.

When more space is needed the height of the row will increase, therefore filling up the gap at the bottom of the page.

To try this option, follow the steps below.

Step 1: Select the rows that you would like to balance.

Step 2: On the Home tab, select the dialogue box launcher for the Paragraph Settings which is shown as a little arrow at the bottom right of the Paragraph area. 

Home tab on the Word Ribbon with the Paragraph dialogue box launcher shown in a red box

This will open the Paragraph Settings dialogue box.

Step 3: Increase the Paragraph Spacing options for Before and After the paragraph, and/or increase the Line Spacing setting.

Paragraph dialogue box in the Indents and Spacing tab with the Spacing options and Line spacing options shown in red boxes and a mouse selecting 1.5 lines

Step 4: Click OK.

The Table rows will now be more balanced on the page.

Word Table rows all the same size and balanced on page

Tip #3 Click and drag to increase the height of each row

Place the mouse pointer over the bottom border of any row.

The pointer will change to include vertical arrows pointing up and down.

Click and drag the row border to give it the height you require.

Using this method, you can manually adjust the Table rows to fill up the white space at the bottom of the page.

Word Table with the mouse clicking and dragging the table rows

To Sum up

I hope these steps have helped you to stop a Table from splitting across two pages and helped you control splits if they are unavoidable.

Preventing your Word Table rows from splitting and repeating the Header row on each page not only makes your document look great, it also improves the document flow for the reader.

If you want to follow along these steps with me, check out my YouTube video Word Table Do Not Split Across Pages.

If you want more information on how to work with split Tables in Word, check out our article, Word Tables allow rows to break across page which covers how to deal with your entire Word Table or row moving to a new page and leaving an unwanted gap.

Was this blog helpful? Let us know in the Comments below. 

If you enjoyed this post check out the related posts below.

Join our free insiders Group!

Learn how to SAVE TIME and WORK SMARTER, without the 'techie' speak!

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Join our free insiders club! 

Receive 100+ Steps to Becoming Proficient in Excel

>