Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. 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: Hyphenating Your Document.

Hyphenating Your Document

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated July 8, 2017)

Hyphenation is the process of adding hyphens to words at the beginning of lines so the hyphenated part will fit at the end of the previous line. The hyphens are inserted between syllables in a word. Word can automatically hyphenate your document for you, or you can use the hyphenation tool to manually hyphenate your document. To use the hyphenation tool, follow these steps:

  1. Go to the beginning of your document (this is not necessary, but saves time when hyphenating).
  2. Display the Layout tab of the ribbon. (In Word 2007 or Word 2010 select the Page Layout tab of the ribbon.)
  3. In the Page Setup group, click the Hyphenation tool. Word displays a series of choices.
  4. Select Hyphenation Options. Word displays the Hyphenation dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  5. Figure 1. The Hyphenation dialog box.

  6. Use the controls in the dialog box to specify parameters of how the hyphenation is done.
  7. Select the Automatically Hyphenate Document check box if you want Word to make all the hyphenation decisions for you. When you subsequently click on OK, you can skip the rest of these steps.
  8. Click on the Manual button.
  9. You are shown the first possible hyphenation.
  10. If the word being proposed for hyphenation is long enough, you may be able to specify a different place for it to be hyphenated. Simply click on one of the proposed hyphenation points.
  11. Click on Yes to hyphenate the word at the noted point, or click on No to skip hyphenating the word. You are then shown the next possible hyphenation.
  12. Repeat steps 9 and 10 for the remainder of the document.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (6825) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Hyphenating Your Document.

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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