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Using Manual Line Breaks with Justified Paragraphs

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: Using Manual Line Breaks with Justified Paragraphs.

Many people use justified paragraphs in their documents. These types of paragraphs align both the left and right edges of the text in the paragraph, much like what is done in many books and magazine articles. If you are one of these people, you may have noticed that when you add a manual line break (Shift+Enter) in a justified paragraph, Word forces the line to the full width of the paragraph. This can look very strange and ruin the appearance of your text.

You can avoid this problem, however, by making sure that you enter a tab character just before the manual line break. When you do, Word makes the line with the tab left aligned, ignoring the justification alignment you applied to the whole paragraph.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1324) 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: Using Manual Line Breaks with Justified Paragraphs.

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Comments for this tip:

Xavier    01 Jun 2016, 07:42
To Woody:
obviously you don't know what a "soft return" is and what it's made for!
But if you love to have the last line of every paragraph be justified, please ignore this tip and go on with your concept of appearance. But I'm not curious about what your documents look like...
Shekhar    24 Jun 2014, 06:51
Thanks! Works perfectly :-)
Hary    20 Nov 2013, 12:39
Thanks, you're really a big help. i've been looking for this one.
Woody    12 Oct 2013, 18:37
This tip seems rather useless. Why would anyone choose to NOT have a line of text fully justified when the paragraph formatting is set for fully justified?

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