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When to Hyphenate Your Document

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: When to Hyphenate Your Document.

Word includes a hyphenation tool that you can use to make better use of the horizontal text space on your page. You should not need to hyphenate your document often, if you remember these guidelines of when hyphenation is necessary:

  • Hyphenate only before you print. This should be the last step you do, definitely after spell checking and grammar checking your document (if you do these as separate steps).
  • Hyphenate after you change printer drivers. Printer drivers affect the horizontal spacing of fonts. Since the horizontal spacing changes, the applicable hyphenation will change, as well.
  • Hyphenate if you change fonts. It is the font that determines how much text you can get on a line. When you change fonts, you change the amount of text that will fit on a line, and thus change the need for hyphenation.
  • Hyphenate if you change paper size, paper orientation, page margins, or paragraph indents. Changes in any of these options will cause Word to "reflow" your paragraphs, so what appears on each line will also change.
  • Hyphenate if you change machines. If you choose to print your document on a different machine than it was developed on, you will undoubtedly be using a different printer driver and perhaps a different version of Word—both of which can affect horizontal spacing of your text.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1099) 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: When to Hyphenate Your Document.

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Comments for this tip:

Greg Kalb    21 Dec 2015, 16:42
Just a word of thanks for your lovely Christmas message. I greatly appreciated it.

Greg Kalb

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