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Keeping Part of a Paragraph with the Next Block of Text

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: Keeping Part of a Paragraph with the Next Block of Text.

Holly is a long-time WordPerfect user who now needs to use Word for her job. When she used WordPerfect, she would often use WordPerfect's block-protect feature to keep the last part of a justified text paragraph with, say, a contract signature block. Since switching to Word, Holly has not been able to figure out how to accomplish the same thing.

The short answer is that there is no way to do this in Word. The reason has to do with fundamental ways in which formatting differs in Word and WordPerfect which are too long to go into here. (They have, however, been fully covered in other issues of WordTips.) There is a workaround that you may be able to play with a bit to see if it will provide the desired results. Follow these general steps:

  1. Make sure that Word is displaying non-printing characters. (Click the Show/Hide tool on the toolbar, or choose Tools | Options | View tab | All.)
  2. At the point where you want the "block protect" to begin (perhaps at the beginning of the second-to-the-last line in the paragraph), insert a hard paragraph break. (Position the insertion point there and then press Enter.) You should see the familiar backwards-P symbol indicate the location of the paragraph break.
  3. Select the paragraph mark (the backwards-P symbol) and format it as hidden text. (Click Format | Font | Hidden.) If you have Word configured so that hidden characters are not displayed, then it may appear as if your paragraph mark disappears. If hidden characters are displayed, then a red dotted underline appears under the paragraph mark.
  4. Position the insertion point in the paragraph after the paragraph mark, and format it so that it stays with the following paragraph. (Choose Format | Paragraph | Line and Page Breaks tab | Keep with Next.)

You may need to play with your character spacing a bit to get just the effect you want, but this workaround offers the best potential solution to what you are trying to do.

Another potential solution is more manual in nature, but it may just do the trick, particularly if you only periodically need to force the last two lines from a paragraph to the next page. Simply position the insertion point at the beginning of the second-to-last line of the paragraph and press the Left Arrow key one time. The insertion point should now be at the end of the preceding line. Hold down the Shift key as you press Enter. This inserts a line break into the paragraph. You can continue to hold down the Shift key as you repeatedly press Enter, until the two lines are on the new page.

If you use this approach, remember that when you enter these line breaks you are not starting a new paragraph. Word treats the entire paragraph (including the line breaks) as a single unit. This means that if you have the paragraph formatted as "Keep Lines Together" (on the Line and Page Breaks tab of the Paragraph dialog box), then inserting the line breaks may force the entire paragraph to the next page. Simply turn off the "Keep Lines Together" setting if you don't want the paragraph to behave in this manner.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (331) 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: Keeping Part of a Paragraph with the Next Block of Text.

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