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 Hyphen.

Inserting a Non-Breaking Hyphen

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 24, 2015)

13

When Word calculates line length and wraps text to the next line, it tries to break the line at a space or a hyphen—a dash. Sometimes, however, you may not want Word to break a line at a dash. For instance, dashes are used in telephone numbers, and you might not want a line to break in the middle of a telephone number.

The answer to this dilemma is to use non-breaking hyphens instead of regular dashes when you don't want Word to break a line at the hyphen. To do this, hold down the Ctrl and Shift keys as you type the dash (this is the same as typing Ctrl and an underscore). Word will then not break the line at that point.

You can also insert a non-breaking hyphen by following these steps:

  1. Choose Symbol from the Insert menu. Word displays the Insert Symbol dialog box.
  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 Hyphen 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 (1116) 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 Hyphen.

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Preparing a Chart Sheet for Printing

One type of chart that Excel allows you to create is one that occupies an entire worksheet. When it comes time to print such ...

Discover More

Only Inline Figures Can be Seen and Printed

Insert a graphic into a document and you expect to be able to see it. What do you do if it isn't displayed, however? Here are ...

Discover More

Placing Text in Empty Table Cells

Tables are often used to organize information into an understandable format. If your company requires that tables in formal ...

Discover More

Create Custom Apps with VBA! Discover how to extend the capabilities of Office 2013 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access) with VBA programming, using it for writing macros, automating Office applications, and creating custom applications. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2013 today!

More WordTips (menu)

Deleting a Range of Pages

Need to delete a range of pages out of the middle of your document? It's easy to do using editing techniques you already know ...

Discover More

Understanding the Big Three Autos in Word

Three of the tools provided in Word are AutoText, AutoCorrect, and AutoComplete. It is easy to confuse what these tools do, ...

Discover More

Changing AutoComplete Words

AutoComplete allows you to easily complete words you are typing in your document. If AutoComplete is presenting you with the ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 2 + 1?

2016-08-20 11:40:40

question

I have a problem with end smart quotes wrapping to the next line. I have to use certain symbols before the quote that aren't covered here. How can I keep *any* combination of characters together? Specifically:

—” (em dash and end smart quote)
…” (ellipses and end smart quote)


2016-01-25 02:03:19

Ren

By creating a macro, one can use the Ctrl+Shift+_ to enter a true non-break hyphen (en-dash).

Here are the steps (for Word 2010):

1. Go to "View" tab
2. Select "Macros"
3. Select "Record macro"
4. type in a macro name
5. Select "Keyboard"
6. Press Ctrl+Shift+_
7. Select "Assign"
8. Select "Close"
9. Key Alt+0173 (using numeric pad)
10. Go to "View" tab
11. select "Stop recording"

Done.


2015-11-01 18:01:52

Jay de Silva

Unfortunately neither you nor Microsoft has realized that both Ctrl+Shift+_ and the above procedure inserts a non-breaking en-dash, quite different from a dash or hyphen (the hyphen being the same length as a dash). As a Technical author, this anomaly has exasperated me no end.

However, there is a work around that I use, and that is to use Alt+0173, which is a proper non-breaking hyphen, the same length as a dash.

By the way, if you convert a document with Word's non-breaking hyphens into a PDF file, the later changes them into proper non-breaking hyphens the same length as a dash or hyphen.


2015-09-26 09:48:34

Norman Dale

A bit dangerous to use the term "hyphen" and "dash" as if they are synonyms. Proofreaders and editors distinguish between them and in fact there are two sorts of dashes referred to as "em dashes" (really long ones) — and "en dashes" – shorter than "ems" but longer than hyphen. See the three below.



-


2015-08-17 11:22:46

Nick

Alt 0173 and Alt 0160 work for both Word and Excel.

Ctrl-Shift - and Ctrl-Shift-Space only work in Word.

Looks like, people who wrote Word and Excel had no idea what the other team is doing.


2014-04-01 23:00:57

Ryan Eakins

Word's AutoCorrect can be used to change normal hyphens into non-breaking hyphens.


2013-03-05 17:55:55

Marc

UNFORTUNATELY, the nonbreaking hyphen in Word (2007) appears to be an en-dash (or an em; at initial glance, I cannot tell the diff). If you want an actual nonbreaking hyphen, unicode 0173 (ALT+[the number on NUM pad]) does that.


2013-01-04 09:22:49

Ulisses Amaral

Hi guys. I have a long document with more than 20 thousand regular hyphens, which I needed to convert to non-breaking ones. Of course I could always go one by one, but that didn't sound like something I wanted to do. :). So, I was a long time looking for a way of doing an automated way of converting all the regular into non-breaking. Finally I discovered.

BTW, I'm using Microsoft Word 2010.

1) go to find and replace (Ctrl + H)
2) In the "find what" you type a regular hyphen, the minus sign "-"
3) In the "Replace with" you type "^~" without the quotation marks.
4) Now click on replace all

and voila!

Hope to help you.

Cheers from Brazil


2012-10-04 12:04:20

scientist

thank you. This just made my job 100 times less frustrating!


2012-09-11 11:57:21

Nathaniel

Actually, sorry this did not work. I was looking for a non-breaking en dash, to no avail. This is as close as it gets: http://word.tips.net/T000482_Non-breaking_Em_Dashes.html
Time to learn LaTeX.


2012-09-11 11:49:34

Nathaniel

Liana - use Ctrl+h and type Ctrl+Num- in the "replace with" box to fix a whole document at once


2012-07-30 23:16:44

Liana Kastina

How do I set a default so that Word will not wrap text with dashes to the next line? Meaning, is there a way to tell Word to treat ALL dashes as nonbreaking hyphens?

I have documents with LOTS and LOTS of dashes. I don't want to have to make all those corrections.


2012-01-31 06:32:06

Catherine Wightwick

In Word 2010 it is possible to put non-break spaces into fields (by pressing Ctrl+Alt+Space when I type into the field contents), but I am struggling to find a way to put a non-break hyphen into a field in the same way. Any guidance much appreciated.


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the menu interface (Word 97, Word 2000, Word 2002, or Word 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.