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: Adding Hyphens to Phrases.

Adding Hyphens to Phrases

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 3, 2017)

Evelyn is looking for a way to add hyphens to phrases that were originally typed in without the hyphens. For instance, if the phrase "we are having a bigger and better than ever sale this week" is typed in, Evelyn may want it to instead read "we are having a bigger-and-better-than-ever sale this week." The hyphens that denote the phrase need to replace all the spaces that were previously between the words in the phrase.

The quickest solution is to simply select the words in the phrase (bigger and better than ever) and use Find and Replace to replace all the spaces with dashes. Of course, this involves several steps, and if you face this scenario quite often, you should consider a macro to do the actual replacing. The following macro, for instance, will automate the task:

Sub MakePhrase()
    If Selection.Type <> wdSelectionIP Then
        Selection.Find.ClearFormatting
        Selection.Find.Replacement.ClearFormatting
        With Selection.Find
            .Text = " "
            .Replacement.Text = "-"
            .Forward = True
            .Wrap = wdFindStop
            .Format = False
            .MatchCase = False
            .MatchWholeWord = False
            .MatchWildcards = False
            .MatchSoundsLike = False
            .MatchAllWordForms = False
        End With
        Selection.Find.Execute Replace:=wdReplaceAll
    End If
End Sub

The macro first checks to make sure that a selection has been made. If so, then all the spaces in the selection are replaced with dashes. To make the macro handier, simply assign it to a shortcut key. Then, when you need to hyphenate a phrase, simply select the words and press the shortcut key.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (9173) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Adding Hyphens to Phrases.

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

Conditional Processing During a Mail Merge

The Mail Merge capabilities can appear limited at first glance. One thing that is often overlooked (and which makes the ...

Discover More

Allowing Passive Voice in Writing

When you have Word do grammar checking on your document, it typically marks everything it considers wrong with the way ...

Discover More

Highlighting Values that are 10x a Baseline Value

Sometimes the hardest part of getting your conditional formatting rules to work properly is figuring out the proper way ...

Discover More

Learning Made Easy! Quickly teach yourself how to format, publish, and share your content using Word 2013. With Step by Step, you set the pace, building and practicing the skills you need, just when you need them! Check out Microsoft Word 2013 Step by Step today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Arranging Paragraphs

Need to move a few paragraphs around in your document? Word provides a couple of handy shortcuts that make it very easy ...

Discover More

Controlling Overtype Mode

Some people like to have Word replace previous information as they type; this is called 'overtype mode.' You can control ...

Discover More

Checking for Matching Parentheses

There are lots of little "gotchas" that can make the difference between a finished document and a polished document. One ...

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 seven more than 3?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the ribbon interface (Word 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the menu 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.