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Keep with Previous

Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Word 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Word, click here: Keep with Previous.

Do you ever wish Word had a "keep with previous" setting for paragraphs? Such a setting would come in handy for paragraphs that need to always fall at the end of a section, and cannot appear at the top of a page by themselves. Word, however, has no such setting; it only has a "keep with following" setting.

The way that most people get around this problem is to make special "end of sequence" paragraph styles that have the requisite "keep with next" setting. For instance, let's say that your regular paragraphs are formatted with a style called Policy, and that the final paragraph at the end of the section is called "Effective Date." It is this last paragraph that you want to always be kept with the previous paragraph.

The workaround is to create a new style called "Policy Last" that is based on the Policy style. The only difference is that "Policy Last" has the "keep with following" setting turned on. This style would then be applied to the paragraph just before the "Effective Date" paragraph. Thus, you would have several paragraphs formatted as Policy, one formatted as "Policy Last," and then the final formatted as "Effective Date." The result is that the effective date always stays with the previous paragraph. (Well, vice versa, but the effect is the same.)

If you have many documents that you need to format in this manner, you might consider creating a macro to do the formatting for you. All the macro needs to do is to step through the document, checking the style of each paragraph. When it finds a paragraph formatted with "Effective Date," it backs up a paragraph and, if that paragraph is formatted with the Policy style, changes it to "Policy Last."

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (239) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) here: Keep with Previous.

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Comments for this tip:

Neil    29 Sep 2016, 04:33
"Keep With Previous" is a feature that has been requested as far back as when they were still on Word 2003 but they did not listen.

It is more useful than "Keep With Next" as usually you want a heading followed by a list or table and you want all this on a single page.

You only want to break after the table and you actually turn OFF keep with next on the last item, but you have to know it will be the last item, and that makes it difficult if you want to modify the document and add more items after the last one.

Keep Lines Together works if you put in line-breaks rather than paragraph breaks, but then we don't want to do that (especially if it's a bulleted list or a table).
Saltamonte    11 Mar 2014, 03:15
Would anyone know how a general macro of that type could be created? I might be able to figure out how to do it with one paragraph at a time (useless, since Keep with Next would do the same job), but a macro that would allow me to select multiple, non-consecutive paragraphs and keep each one with the paragraph directly above it in the document, would be quite helpful.

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