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Most of the time, we want text in a Microsoft Word document to automatically wrap text, that is, to move to the next line when it is too long. Word wrap is great except when it breaks up text we want to stay together such as dates, names, phone numbers, phrases, formulas, titles or other text that should stay together. Fortunately, Word has some easy ways to keep text together.
Some examples of text you might want to keep together and not break up to separate lines:
- August 2, 2010
- Christopher A. Jones, Ph.D.
- (555) 123-4567
Non-Breaking Spaces & Non-Breaking Hyphens
The common solution: what most people do to keep text together is move to the beginning of the text and press [Enter] to start a new line. This is fine until any of the text changes and causes breaks in the wrong place.
The right solution: keep text together with special characters. Specifically, replace normal spaces and hyphens with non-breaking spaces or non-breaking hyphens (Word 2010, Word 2007, Word 2003, Word 2002):
- Non-breaking space: [Ctrl] + [Shift] + [Spacebar]
- Non-breaking hyphen: [Ctrl] + [Shift] + [Hyphen]
As the name implies, non-breaking characters connect the text together and it will all automatically move to the next line together but only as needed.
Non-Breaking Paragraphs And Lines
Next, let’s go one step further. When you don’t want a paragraph or even several lines of text to break between two pages, do the following:
- Select the paragraph or section of text you want to keep together.
- On the Home tab in Word 2010 or Word 2007, click the Paragraph group’s dialog launcher (the small arrow at the bottom-right. In Word 2003 (and earlier), choose Paragraph from the Format menu.
- Pick the Line and Page Breaks tab.
- Check the Keep Lines together option, and click OK.
- If you have multiple paragraphs selected, also click on Keep with next which will keep the paragraphs together on the same page.
To find non-breaking spaces and non-breaking hyphens in your text, use the Find feature as follows:
- On the Home tab, click the Find drop-down in the Editing group. In Word 2003 (and earlier), choose Find from the Edit menu. You can also press the [Ctrl} + F shortcut for Find.
- In the Find What control, enter one of the following: ^s to find non-breaking space; ^~ to find non-breaking hyphens. In Word 2003, click Find Next.
To view non-breaking space and hyphen characters in a document, click Show/Hide in the Paragraph group (Home tab). In Word 2003 (and earlier), pick the Show/Hide icon on the Standard toolbar. Word represents non-breaking space characters with a degree symbol (°) and non-breaking space characters with a double-length hyphen (these are a bit harder to distinguish from regular text).
Dawn Bjork Buzbee is The Software Pro and a Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) as well as a certified Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) Master Instructor, certified Microsoft Applications Specialist (MCAS) Instructor, and a certified Microsoft Office expert. Dawn shares smart and easy ways to effectively use software through her work as a software speaker, trainer, consultant, and author of 6 books. Discover more software tips, tricks, tactics, and techniques at http://www.SoftwarePro.com.