Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Inserting a Non-Breaking Hyphen.

Inserting a Non-Breaking Hyphen

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated May 28, 2022)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021


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. Display the Insert tab of the ribbon.
  2. Click the Symbol tool (in the Symbols group) and then click More Symbols. Word displays the Symbol dialog box.
  3. Click on the Special Characters tab. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Special Characters tab of the Symbol dialog box.

  5. Highlight the Nonbreaking Hyphen character.
  6. Click on Insert.
  7. 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 (29) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word 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. ...

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