Turning Off Hyphenation for Individual Words

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated October 5, 2020)

3

Gail has a document that is a book and it uses justified margins. Some of the hyphenation is really bad, so she's wondering if there is a way to look through the document and turn off hyphenation on individual words.

Let's take a look at how hyphenation works in Word. You can either automatically or manually hyphenate your document. Basically, you control hyphenation by displaying the Page Layout tab of the ribbon and then clicking the Hyphenation tool. You can then choose from three primary options: Automatic, Manual, or None. Most people (such as Gail) choose the Automatic option. This then adds hyphens automatically throughout the document.

If you don't want to hyphenate a particular word, you can use the Manual option to step through the entire document, but this can be rather tedious. (Plus, it isn't entirely clear that you will reliably be able to "skip" the words you want to skip.)

You can, if you desire, turn off hyphenation for an entire paragraph. You do this by following these steps:

  1. Place the insertion point within the paragraph you want to affect, or select the paragraphs you want affected.
  2. Display the Home tab of the ribbon.
  3. Click the small icon at the bottom-right of the Paragraph group. Word displays the Paragraph dialog box.
  4. Make sure the Line and Page Breaks tab is displayed. (See Figure 1.)
  5. Figure 1. The Line and Page Breaks tab of the Paragraph dialog box.

  6. Make sure the Don't Hyphenate check box is selected.
  7. Click OK.

At this point, there should be no hyphenation in the selected paragraphs, but all the other paragraphs should remain unaffected. If you want, you could also create a paragraph style that also excludes hyphenation.

Note, of course, that this exclusion affects entire paragraphs, not individual words. The bottom line is that there is no way, that we've discovered, to limit the exclusion to individual words. Even creating a linked or character-based style is no help. Character styles don't let you modify the hyphenation setting at all, and linked styles only adjust hyphenation when applied to an entire paragraph.

Perhaps the best solution is to look outside of Word for a solution. You could import your Word document into a page layout program (such as InDesign) and make fairly easy work out of excluding individual words from hyphenation.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1426) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016.

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 5 - 4?

2020-07-11 10:09:47

Paul Stregevsky

Steve, you're brilliant!
You got me thinking about another approach:
1. Create a hybrid style (paragraph. + character) named Don't Hyphenate. In its Font properties, define its font to be based on "underlying properties." Under Paragraph > Line and Page Breaks, select Don't Hyphenate.
2. Select the word; apply the style.
I'm away from my computer. Can someone confirm that this would work?


2020-07-11 00:16:45

Steve

I found a way to unhyphenate a single word. What I did was I highlighted that word and selected a different language, in this case English (UK) instead of English (USA). I unchecked the autocorrect box. Voila, it did not hyphenate that word in the paragraph but everything else remained unchanged.


2017-03-25 09:27:39

MIchael Armstrong

In the announcement-for-this-tip email, "Turning OF hyphenation for individual words is not a task that Word allows you to perform, however." should be "Turning OFF hyphenation for individual words is not a task that Word allows you to perform, however."


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