Stop Words from Breaking Across Lines or Pages in Microsoft Word

by Avantix Learning Team | Updated March 14, 2021

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

There are many ways to stop words from splitting across lines in Microsoft Word. If Word is inserting hyphens in a word you don’t want to break across lines, you can turn off automatic hyphenation for the paragraph. You can also keep words or characters (numbers or letters) together in Microsoft Word using nonbreaking spaces or nonbreaking hyphens.

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.

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

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Turning off automatic hyphenation

In Microsoft Word, automatic hyphenation is turned on by default for normal paragraphs (using the Normal style) so Word may insert hyphens and break words across lines.

To stop words from splitting across lines in a paragraph or paragraphs by turning off automatic hyphenation:

  1. Select the paragraph or paragraphs.
  2. Click the Home tab in the Ribbon.
  3. Click the dialog box launcher on the bottom right corner of the Paragraph group. The Paragraph dialog box appears.
  4. Click Line and Page Breaks.
  5. Select or check Don’t Hyphenate.
  6. Click OK.

Below is the Paragraph dialog box with the option to turn off hyphenation:

Paragraph dialog box to turn off hyphenation in Microsoft Word.

You can also turn off automatic hyphenation for multiple paragraphs by editing the style for those paragraphs (for example, the Normal style).

Turning off automatic hyphenation for all new documents

If you prefer to turn off automatic hyphenation for new documents, you can change the default settings.

To turn off automatic hyphenation for new documents based on the default Normal template:

  1. Create a new blank document (this should be based on the Normal template)..
  2. Click the Home tab in the Ribbon.
  3. Click the dialog box launcher on the bottom right corner of the Paragraph group. The Paragraph dialog box appears.
  4. Click Line and Page Breaks.
  5. Select or check Don’t Hyphenate.
  6. Click Set As Default. A dialog box appears.
  7. Select All documents based on the Normal.dotm template. Note that you can select the current document only.
  8. Click OK twice.

Stop words from breaking across lines using nonbreaking spaces

If you want words or characters to stay together on the same line, you can use nonbreaking spaces instead of standard spaces.

For example, it is unlikely that you would want the following to break across lines or pages:

416 736 2288

3 M

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 Insert Symbol dialog box:

  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.

The Insert Symbol dialog box has two tabs (a tab for Symbols and a tab for Special Characters):

Keep text together in Microsoft Word using Insert Symbol to insert nonbreaking space.

Stop words from breaking across lines using nonbreaking hyphens or dashes

You can also use nonbreaking hyphens or dashes to keep words or characters together.

For example, it is unlikely that you would want the following to break across lines or pages:

co-ordinator

416-736-9943

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 Insert Symbol dialog box:

  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.

It’s common to use nonbreaking spaces and hyphens to keep words or characters together in Microsoft Word and in documents in other programs.

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Summary
How to Stop Words from Splitting at the End of a Line in Microsoft Word
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How to Stop Words from Splitting at the End of a Line in Microsoft Word
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There are many ways to stop words from splitting across lines in Microsoft Word. If Word is inserting hyphens in a word you don't want to break across lines, you can turn off automatic hyphenation for the paragraph. You can also keep words or characters (numbers or letters) together in Microsoft Word using nonbreaking spaces or nonbreaking hyphens.
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Avantix Learning

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