Fixing Unwanted Lines in a Table Cell that Spans Two Pages in Word

Tables in Microsoft Word 2010, 2013, 2016, and 365 tend to lose a specific cell’s/row’s top and bottom line layout when the table spans across two pages. A table line gets added to the bottom of the first page and the top of the second page for just one row. Word functionality cannot detect the continuation of a cell or row into the next page because it automatically applies the “border” to every page by default. So, if you have a table row that continues onto a new page, Word throws a border in there when you actually want to carry the row of cells over to the next page without appearing split.

One workaround is to draw empty, borderless text boxes, which will obscure the unwanted “split” border in your table.

tables in Word
tables in Word

However, there is a much better option than performing a so-called “cover-up.” Here’s how to fix the problem the right way.

How to Fix Broken Table Rows and Cells across Two Pages in Word

Before you start editing the table settings in Word, you can delete white space so that the table stays close together from one page to the next.

Step 1: Eliminate White Space (Optional)

  1. Double-click the gap between pages, and it will disappear, bringing the two pages closer together.
  2. You’ll see the change immediately. You can also undo it if desired by double-clicking again.

Once you have white space eliminated, you can make changes to your table properties to fix your split table row.

Step 2: Edit Table Properties

Going into the table’s properties allows you to adjust how Word manages tables across pages. Here’s what to do.

  1. Select any table cell. Click the “Layout” tab that appears at the top, and then click on “Properties” on the far left.
  2. In the “Table Properties” window that appears, click the “Row” tab and uncheck “Allow row to break across pages,” then click “OK” to save changes.
  3. The changes now appear, bringing the split row to the next page.

While some people don’t mind the break in a row between pages, others prefer making it evident that the cell row continues. The row at the bottom of one page is part of the next page.

With complex tables, a split causes confusion at best. In some applications, such as SQL Server Reporting Services, the adjacent rows have individual top and bottom borders, so you can turn off the bottom border on one row and still see the top border of the next row. Word handles rows differently and does not have separate top and bottom borders for each row. The rows and cells share the same borders, so deleting one can cause both rows to lose that border.

The above scenario is why you need to remove the break across pages setting in the table properties. Word will move the row to the next page so that it appears complete.

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