3 Ways to Keep Text Together in Microsoft Word Documents

by Avantix Learning Team | Updated April 5, 2021

Applies to: Microsoft® Word® 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019 and 365 (Windows)

You can keep text together in several ways in Word. If you want to keep words or characters together, you can use nonbreaking spaces or nonbreaking hyphens or dashes and insert them using a dialog box or a keyboard shortcut. If you want to keep lines or paragraphs together on the same page, you can apply settings in the Paragraph dialog box (which can be built into styles if you use styles).

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 (and can be built into styles if you use styles).

It's important to understand some key paragraph concepts:

  • A paragraph in Word is anything with a hard return after it (you have pressed Enter or Return).
  • It's best to eliminate any blank paragraphs in a long document.
  • You can view paragraph marks or symbols by clicking Show/Hide ¶ on the Home tab in the Ribbon in the Paragraph group.

Recommended article: 14 Timesaving Microsoft Word Selection Shortcuts to Quickly Select Text

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Keeping lines together in a paragraph

To keep the lines in a paragraph together on the same page in Word using the Ribbon:

  1. Select the paragraph in the Word document with the text you want to keep together. You can simply click in the paragraph to select it.
  2. Click the Home tab in the Ribbon and click the dialog box launcher on the bottom right of the Paragraph group. The Paragraph dialog box appears.
  3. Select the Line and Page breaks tab. Word displays options to keep the lines of the paragraph together or to keep the paragraph with the next paragraph.
  4. Check Keep lines together.
  5. Click OK. The paragraph will no longer break across pages.

Below is the Paragraph dialog box in Word with Keep lines together selected:

Word Paragraph dialog box with keep lines together checked.

You can also use a context menu to access the Paragraph dialog box (right-click in a paragraph and choose Paragraph from the drop-down menu).

Keeping a paragraph with the next paragraph

To keep a paragraph on the same page with the next paragraph using the Ribbon:

  1. Click in the paragraph you want to keep with the next paragraph (the next paragraph should not be a blank paragraph).
  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.

You can also use a context menu to access the Paragraph dialog box (right-click in a paragraph and choose Paragraph from the drop-down menu).

Keeping text together with nonbreaking spaces

If you want specific words or characters to stay together on 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 characters using a keyboard shortcut:

  1. Position the cursor between the two words or characters you want to keep together (there should be no space between these characters).
  2. Press Ctrl + 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 characters 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. A dialog box appears.
  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 to insert a non-breaking space:

Insert symbol dialog box in word to insert non-breaking space.

Keeping text together with nonbreaking hyphens or dashes

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

To insert a nonbreaking hyphen between two words or characters using a keyboard shortcut:

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

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

  1. Position the cursor between the two words or characters 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. A dialog box appears.
  4. Select the Special Characters tab.
  5. Select Nonbreaking hyphen and click Insert.
  6. Click Close. Word inserts a nonbreaking hyphen.

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.

You can also quickly find and remove nonbreaking spaces or hyphens using the Replace dialog box.

To find and remove nonreaking spaces or hyphens:

  1. Press Ctrl + H. The Replace dialog box appears. You can also click the Home tab in the Ribbon and click Replace in the Editing group.
  2. Click More to expand the dialog box if necessary.
  3. Click in the Find What box.
  4. Click Special. A drop-down menu appears.
  5. Select nonbreaking space or nonbreaking hyphen.
  6. Ensure the Replace with box is empty.
  7. Click Find Next. Word should find the first nonbreaking space or nonbreaking hyphen.
  8. Click Replace or Replace All.
  9. Click Close.

Below is the Replace dialog box:

Replace dialog box in Microsoft Word to find and remove nonbreaking spaces or hyphens.

Although all of these techniques will keep text together, keeping paragraphs together is the most important. If you start using paragraph formatting to keep specific paragraphs together, you can avoid using manual page breaks for pagination.

This article was originally published on July 14, 2017 and has been updated for clarity and content.

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More resources

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Summary
How to Keep Text Together in Word (Paragraphs, Lines or Words)
Article Name
How to Keep Text Together in Word (Paragraphs, Lines or Words)
Description
You can keep text together in several ways in Word. If you want to keep words or characters together, you can use nonbreaking spaces or nonbreaking hyphens or dashes and insert them using a dialog box or a keyboard shortcut. If you want to keep lines or paragraphs together on the same page, you can apply settings in the Paragraph dialog box (which can be built into styles if you use styles).
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Avantix Learning

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