Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365. 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: Sticking with the Dashes.

Sticking with the Dashes

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated September 19, 2020)

1

As discussed in other issues of WordTips, en dashes and em dashes are "sticky" with the word that they follow and cannot be made sticky with the word that follows the dash. Thus, if you have two words separated by an em dash, and the combination appears near the end of a line, Word will wrap from one line to the next right after the em dash; you cannot force Word to keep both words and their connecting dash on the same line.

There is one workaround you can use, however. Let's assume that you have two words (first and second) separated by an em dash, as in first—second. If you want these to always be together, follow these steps:

  1. Select the two words and the em dash.
  2. Press Ctrl+X to cut the text from the document and place it on the Clipboard.
  3. Press Ctrl+F9. Word inserts a set of field braces at the insertion point.
  4. Press Backspace and then Delete (or Delete and then Backspace) to get rid of the two spaces automatically inserted between the field braces.
  5. Type EQ followed by a space.
  6. Press Ctrl+V. Word pastes the two words separated by the em dash.
  7. Press Alt+F9 to display the results of the field.

The result is that the field now shows your two words separated by an em dash. The results of the field always appear on a single line, so the words and their dash will always be together. This approach works regardless of the type of dash between the two words.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (9488) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Sticking with the Dashes.

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

Checking All Cell Formatting in VBA

When your macro checks the formatting used for a cell, it needs to be careful that the type of formatting being checked ...

Discover More

Entering Calculations in a Form Field

One of the many uses for Word is to create forms that can be easily filled in by other people. This is made possible by ...

Discover More

Inserting and Copying Rows

Want an easy way to insert a new row in a worksheet and copy everything from the row above? (You end up with two ...

Discover More

The First and Last Word on Word! Bestselling For Dummies author Dan Gookin puts his usual fun and friendly candor back to work to show you how to navigate Word 2013. Spend more time working and less time trying to figure it all out! Check out Word 2013 For Dummies today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Inserting the Date and Time

Inserting a date and time in your document is a snap using the tools provided in Word. Just pick the command, then ...

Discover More

Turning Off Automatic Capitalization in Lists

By default, Word capitalizes letters that it thinks designate the beginning of a sentence. This includes at the beginning ...

Discover More

Breaking Into Sentences

Macros allow you to easily extend what you can do with Word. If you have a common editing task, that task can often be ...

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 2 + 2?

2020-09-19 14:09:15

Susan

Another option is to take advantage of the “No-Width Non Break” found by navigating to Insert > Symbol > More Symbols, Special Characters tab. There is no assigned shortcut key. This special character is a nonprinting formatting mark, so activate Show/Hide (Ctrl-*) if necessary.

[nb] = No-Width Non Break

first[nb]—[nb]second


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.