Adding Many No-Width Optional Breaks

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated December 14, 2013)

2

Beginning in Word 2000, Microsoft introduced a new character called the no-width optional break. This character has been discussed in other issues of WordTips; for English documents it can be used to wrap long or compound words at non-standard places. For instance, it could be used to add an optional break after a slash character.

If you want to use the no-width optional break in a document that has lots of slashes, you may wonder if there is a way to do a find and replace to add the special character. The short answer is "yes, there is." Follow these steps:

  1. Press Ctrl+H. Word displays the Replace tab of the Find and Replace dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  2. Figure 1. The Replace tab of the Find and Replace dialog box.

  3. In the Find What box, enter the slash.
  4. In the Replace With box, enter a slash and then hold down the Alt key as you type 8203 on the numeric keypad. You'll see a little box appear after the slash.
  5. Click Replace All.
  6. Close the Find and Replace dialog box.

Holding down the Alt key as you type 8203 on the numeric keypad inserts the Unicode character for the no-width optional break. After performing all the steps, your document is set to do an optional break after any slash character.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (3903) applies to Microsoft Word 2000, 2002, and 2003.

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

Problems Opening Documents from Explorer

Windows Explorer is a great way to browse through the files available on your system. If you see a document file you want to ...

Discover More

Updating Multiple PivotTables at Once

PivotTables are a great way to process huge amounts of data and make sense of that data. If you have a number of PivotTables ...

Discover More

Keeping a Picture Title with the Picture

Pictures and their titles go together like peanut butter and jelly. (Wow, did I just say that?) Seriously, pictures and ...

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)

Copying Found Items to a New Document

Word allows you to use its searching capabilities to easily find multiple items in a document. What if you want to copy all ...

Discover More

Selective Formatting in Replacements

Do you need to replace text with a term or phrase that uses multiple formats? You can perform this seemingly complex task ...

Discover More

Find and Replace in a Column or Row

Need to search for information in a table? Word allows you to easily limit your search to an entire column or row, as ...

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 two less than 2?

2014-09-08 13:38:55

Carole

Hi Andrew, I had the same problem. I wanted to replace all my "no-width optional breaks" in my Amazon book because the breaks were showing up as squares. I wanted to replace all of these breaks/squares but couldn't find the proper MS Word symbol to use in the Find/Replace function. After some Internet searching, I finally found the required symbol: ^o (that's the small alphabet letter "o" not the number). Here's a great website for MS Word symbols: http://makeofficework.com/searching.htm


2014-06-06 16:05:17

Andrew

How would I get this to work for Word 2010? ALT + 8203 puts in a slash-like symbol that is different from the "No-Width Optional Break," and it doesn't work in the Find and Replace box. Do you know the encoding that will allow Find and Replace with a "no-width optional break"? For example, to replace a hard return, "^p" represents a paragraph symbol.


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.