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: Inserting a Non-Breaking Space.

Inserting a Non-Breaking Space

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated August 31, 2013)


When Word calculates line width and wraps text to the next line, it tries to break the line at either a space or a hyphen. Sometimes, however, you may not want Word to break a line at a certain space. For instance, you may want to make sure that two adjacent words appear on the same line as each other. The answer is to use non-breaking spaces instead of regular spaces when you don't want Word to break a line at a certain space. To do this, hold down the Ctrl and Shift keys as you press the Spacebar. Word will then not break the line at that point.

An alternative way of inserting a non-breaking space is to follow these steps:

  1. Display the Symbol dialog box by choosing Symbol from the Insert menu.
  2. Click on the Special Characters tab. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Special Characters tab of the Symbol dialog box.

  4. Highlight the Nonbreaking Space character.
  5. Click on Insert.
  6. Close the dialog box by clicking on Cancel.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1081) 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: Inserting a Non-Breaking Space.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...


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What is 4 + 4?

2016-12-08 15:37:59

Viola Gilbert

What if I need to protect the dash itself? For instance: 1-1/2 inch It is wrapping between the 1 and the -, but if I use the non-breaking space there is a space between the 1 and -, which I do not want. How do I protect the entire "1-1/2 inch" from separating?

2013-11-21 10:29:54

Gavin Ward

On printing (or print preview) Word updates the fields and strips-out non-breaking spaces in the cross-reference fields, putting them back to normal spaces.

Where the cross-reference is to a caption, it can be retained by putting the non-breaking space in the caption.

However, how can you do it a Word Reference Table where the string
"[Ref. X]" in col 1 of the table does not seem to be accessible the user for editing?

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