Keep Text Together in Word Documents using Paragraph Settings or Nonbreaking Characters

by Avantix Learning Team | Updated July 14, 2017

Applies to: Microsoft® Word® 2007, 2010, 2013 and 2016 (Windows)

You can keep text together in many ways in Microsoft Word. In this article, we’ll use settings in the Paragraph dialog box (which can be built into styles if you use styles) as well as nonbreaking spaces or hyphens.

If you are a keyboard only user, check out our article No Mouse? Using Keyboard Only Navigation in Microsoft Office.

Recommended article: How to Export PowerPoint Handouts to Microsoft Word

First, let’s review two key Word concepts:

  1. A paragraph is anything with a hard return after it.
  2. It’s best to eliminate any blank paragraphs in a document.

1. Keep paragraphs or lines together with paragraph settings

You may want to keep the lines in a paragraph together so that the paragraph doesn’t break across pages or you may want to keep a paragraph with the next paragraph and avoid inserting manual page breaks. This can be accomplished easily using the Paragraph dialog box.

To set a paragraph to keep together on the same page:

  1. Click in the paragraph you want to keep together.
  2. Click the Home tab in the Ribbon.
  3. Click the dialog box launcher on the bottom right of the Paragraph group. The Paragraph dialog box appears.
  4. Select the Line and Page breaks tab.
  5. Check Keep Lines together.
  6. Click OK. The paragraph will no longer break across pages.

Below is the Paragraph dialog box:

Paragraph dialog box in Microsoft Word.

To set a paragraph to keep with the next paragraph:

  1. Click in the paragraph you want to keep with the next paragraph (the next paragraph should not be blank).
  2. Click the Home tab in the Ribbon.
  3. Click the dialog box launcher on the bottom right of the Paragraph group. The Paragraph dialog box appears.
  4. Select the Line and Page breaks tab.
  5. Check Keep with Next.
  6. Click OK.

2. Keep text together with nonbreaking spaces

If you want specific words to stay together in the same line (such as De Marco), you can use nonbreaking spaces instead of regular spaces.

To insert a nonbreaking space between two words or letters using the keyboard:

  1. Position the cursor between the two words or letters you want to keep together (there should be no space between these characters).
  2. Press Control + Shift + Spacebar. Word inserts a nonbreaking space.

To insert a nonbreaking space between two words or letters using the Ribbon:

  1. Position the cursor between the two words or letters you want to keep together (there should be no space between these characters).
  2. Click the Insert tab in the Ribbon.
  3. Click Insert Symbol and then More Symbols in the drop-down menu.
  4. Select the Special Characters tab.
  5. Select Nonbreaking space and click Insert.
  6. Click Close. Word inserts a nonbreaking space.

Below is the Insert Symbol dialog box.

Insert Symbol dialog box in Microsoft Word.

3. Keep text together with nonbreaking hyphens

You can also use nonbreaking hyphens to keep words together (such as 416‑222‑9999 or co‑ordinator).

To insert a nonbreaking hyphen between two words or letters using the keyboard:

  1. Position the cursor between the two words or letters you want to keep together (there should be no space between these characters).
  2. Press Control + Shift + Underscore (_). Word inserts a nonbreaking hyphen.

To insert a nonbreaking hyphen between two words or letters using the Ribbon:

  1. Position the cursor between the two words or letters you want to keep together (there should be no space between these characters).
  2. Click the Insert tab in the Ribbon.
  3. Click Insert Symbol and then More Symbols in the drop-down menu.
  4. Select the Special Characters tab.
  5. Select Nonbreaking hyphen and click Insert.
  6. Click Close. Word inserts a nonbreaking hyphen.

If you’d like to view nonbreaking spaces, nonbreaking hyphens and paragraph marks:

  1. Click the Home tab in the Ribbon.
  2. Click the Show/Hide ¶ in the Paragraph group.

You can turn off the symbols by clicking on the same button.

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