NB: Please read the 26/1/2016 update at the end of this page before you try the method below!
This is the problem: you need to insert a large table in landscape format into a document that is portrait the rest of the time. You don’t want to make the whole document landscape for the sake of one page, so you need a way of putting one landscape page into a portrait document. This is how you do it. Although the instructions here are for Word for Mac 2008, the over-riding principle is the same in any version of Word – create a section break, then apply the ‘landscape’ instruction to that section only.
Instructions for putting one landscape page into a portrait document in Word
1. At the point where you want to create the landscape page, go to Insert>Break>Section Break (Next page)
The Section Break menu
2. Now go to File>Page setup and change the page orientation to landscape, and if you’re using a Mac, after you’ve done that, change the settings to ‘Microsoft Word’ as shown below.
3. From the menu that appears, select the option to apply the changes to ‘this section’
4. Press OK. You will now have a landscape page at the point where you made the section break
5. Make your table or whatever it is on this page.
6. When you get to the bottom of the landscape page, repeat steps 1-4 above but change the orientation back to portrait and apply it to ‘this section’.
- If you know that this is going to be the only landscape page in the whole document, you can select ‘from this point forward’ when you change the orientation back to portrait in (6) above
- Even though they’re invisible in print-layout view, Section Breaks can be deleted. If you’re not careful, you can backspace over the section break and put your landscape page back into portrait, or vice versa. If this happens, scream and press ‘Undo’ (CTRL+Z or ⌘Z)
- To avoid deleting section breaks accidentally, put the document temporarily in to outline view (View>Outline). This will allow you to see where the section breaks are. Once you’ve finished, go back to View>Print layout)
Update on 26th January 2016
A recent visitor to this page has pointed out that when she tries to print the resulting document, the page immediately after the landscape page has its margins corrupted, and is shifted 2.5 inches to the right, and bleeds off the page. I’ve checked this and looked on a number of forums, and sadly, it seems that this may be an intractable problem with Word and page orientation changes. To be honest, I don’t know what the problem is, and I have no idea whether it’s all versions of Word, all tables, all documents or whatever, but be warned.
In this particular case, the table had been created with tab stops rather than a table grid, which meant there was a nice workaround. If you have tabulated data (rather than a “table”) you can try this:
- Select the “table” (scare quotes are vital here: I mean “tabulated text” not a “table” in the sense of a grid with data in it)
- Click on the Insert menu, and select “text Box” – this will put a text box around the selected text
- Click on the + handle on the top LH corner of the resulting text box
- Click on the “layout tab” (see below)
- Select “Text Direction” and choose “Rotate all text 270º (or 90º if you prefer)
- The text will rotate (rather than the page) – this means that the page numbers will stay in the same position (one of the unfortunate hazards of the other method, is that the page numbers end up relative to the new page orientation – i.e. in the wrong place. It is then a real pain to put them in the right place using text boxes etc.
- I guess if you were really keen, you could create a table with the page in portrait mode, but with columns and rows how you’d like them to be when you type in text at 90 or 270 degrees (i.e. long rows, and narrow columns). I don’t like the sound of that, but in theory, it could work if you can (ha ha) get your head round it.
- If you have a better way of dealing with this let me know.
Be aware that you can’t flip a Word table around like this: it only changes the direction of the text, not the table grid. I’m thinking that the only real workaround if you have a complex table that has to have a grid, and can’t be done with tabs alone, is to export the table as a graphic, and then import the graphic and rotate it into the portrait page as required.