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: Sticking with the Dashes.

Sticking with the Dashes

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated December 15, 2018)

2

As discussed in other issues of WordTips, en dashes and em dashes are "sticky" with the word that they follow, and cannot be made sticky with the word that follows the dash. Thus, if you have two words separated by an em dash, and the combination appears near the end of a line, Word will wrap from one line to the next right after the em dash; you cannot force Word to keep both words and their connecting dash on the same line.

There is one workaround you can use, however. Let's assume that you have two words (first and second) separated by an em dash, as in first—second. If you want these to always be together, follow these steps:

  1. Select the two words and the em dash.
  2. Press Ctrl+X to cut the text from the document and place it on the Clipboard.
  3. Press Ctrl+F9. Word inserts a set of field braces at the insertion point.
  4. Press Backspace and then Delete (or Delete and then Backspace) to get rid of the two spaces automatically inserted between the field braces.
  5. Type EQ followed by a space.
  6. Press Ctrl+V. Word pastes the two words separated by the em dash.
  7. Press Shift+F9 to display the results of the field.

The result is that the field now shows your two words separated by an em dash. The results of the field always appear on a single line, so the words and their dash will always be together. This approach works regardless of the type of dash between the two words.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (3527) 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: Sticking with the Dashes.

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

Deleting Every X Rows

Grab some info from a source other than Excel, and you may find the need to delete a certain pattern of rows from a ...

Discover More

Changing Information in Multiple Documents

If you need to change text in many documents at the same time, Word isn't the best tool to use. Here's some ideas on ways ...

Discover More

Writing a Macro from Scratch

Creating macros can help extend what you can do in Excel. If you work with macros, you know that creating macros from ...

Discover More

Comprehensive VBA Guide Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is the language used for writing macros in all Office programs. This complete guide shows both professionals and novices how to master VBA in order to customize the entire Office suite for their needs. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2010 today!

More WordTips (menu)

Keeping Fields and Text Together

You can use fields for a wide variety of purposes in your documents. If you want to make sure that a field and the text ...

Discover More

Displaying Blanks when Summing to Zero

If you use fields to sum the information in your table columns, you might want to display a blank when the sum is zero. ...

Discover More

Inserting the User's Initials

One of the pieces of information tracked by Word are your name and initials. You can insert your initials by using 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. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. 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 - 0?

2018-12-23 15:08:35

P. G. van Dijk

There is another, simpler way to move a dash to the next line. Use the space bar. Click the space bar until the dash jumps to the next line. Make two or three extra clicks to make sure. Of course this works only if the margins have been defined.


2018-12-15 12:08:46

Gil Croome

During my working career (I'm now happily retired), one of the house editorial style manuals that I used mandated that an EM dash should have a space before and after it. While the typesetting was being done in a print shop, we did not have to worry about how the dash was kept attached to the first word -- we just told the typesetter to do it! However, once "typesetting " was done copy editor/author's editor. We had to find a "fix". This as actually very simple, replace the space before the dash with a "hard" (non-breaking) space created with CTRL+SHIFT+SPACE to hold the first word and the dash together.


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.