Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, and 2013. 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: Keeping Table Rows Together.

Keeping Table Rows Together

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 5, 2018)


You may believe that you can keep tables rows together if you select the text in a row and then choose Keep Lines Together from the Line and Page Breaks tab of the Paragraph dialog box. This is a common trick that you can read about in lots of places—including the pages of WordTips. What you may not know is that choosing this option may not always give the desired result.

The reason is that Word apparently ignores this setting within tables. (Astounding, isn't it?) Instead, Word pays attention to a setting in the Tables dialog box. If you look at the Row tab of the Table Properties dialog box, you see a check box entitled Allow Row to Break Across Pages. This is the only option that controls whether a page can break in the middle of a row. If the option is not set (the check box is clear), then the row won't break, regardless of the Keep Lines Together setting. Conversely, if the option is set, then the row can break, even if that means splitting up the paragraph text within the row. (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1. The Row tab of the Table Properties dialog box.

Upon reflection, you might think there is method to this madness. After all, the setting in the Paragraph dialog box should only affect paragraphs, and the setting in the Tables dialog box should affect tables. Under this logic, however, you would expect that if a table cell contains a long paragraph (10 or 12 lines), and the page break is going to occur in the middle of the paragraph, that the Keep Lines Together setting would still keep the single paragraph together. Unfortunately, it doesn't. Word still pays attention to only the Allow Row to Break Across Pages setting.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (3590) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Keeping Table Rows Together.

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 + 9?

2018-03-05 11:06:38


This is true - however the subject line indicated "Keeping Table Rows Together" which, in my experience does not happen when using "Allow row to break across pages". This only lets the row break, but doesn't keep rows together. I have found however in 27 years of using and teaching Word that you can use "Keep with Next" in the first cell on the row and it will force the current row to move with the next row, unless the table is just too unwieldy. Thanks for all the tips - they've come in extremely handy over the years.

2017-01-12 07:00:58

Martin Manscher

This will only work if Table Properties -> Table -> Text wrapping is set to "None".

2016-11-18 13:06:24

Carolyn Ratcliff

This tip makes perfect sense, and I tried it once and thought it was working. However, when I tried it in a "directory" merge template with page numbers in the footer, it will break the table anywhere without regard to my table property settings. Very frustrating!

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