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: When to Hyphenate Your Document.

When to Hyphenate Your Document

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated September 7, 2018)

7

Word includes a hyphenation tool that you can use to make better use of the horizontal text space on your page. You should not need to hyphenate your document often, if you remember these guidelines of when hyphenation is necessary:

  • Hyphenate only before you print. This should be the last step you do, definitely after spell checking and grammar checking your document (if you do these as separate steps).
  • Hyphenate after you change printer drivers. Printer drivers affect the horizontal spacing of fonts. Since the horizontal spacing changes, the applicable hyphenation will change, as well.
  • Hyphenate if you change fonts. It is the font that determines how much text you can get on a line. When you change fonts, you change the amount of text that will fit on a line, and thus change the need for hyphenation.
  • Hyphenate if you change paper size, paper orientation, page margins, or paragraph indents. Changes in any of these options will cause Word to "reflow" your paragraphs, so what appears on each line will also change.
  • Hyphenate if you change machines. If you choose to print your document on a different machine than it was developed on, you will undoubtedly be using a different printer driver and perhaps a different version of Word—both of which can affect horizontal spacing of your text.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (9657) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: When to Hyphenate 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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What is five minus 3?

2014-12-16 08:31:27

Damear

Ok, I know where the confusion is coming from - and I got it from trying to answer Bandito's question of "where to find it?"

(BTW, it's on "Page Layout" tab, first button group - "Page setup").

And when you get there and click the "Hyphenation" button, one of the options popping out is "Manual". Apparently that's the point all the items in this article refer to. I don't remember seeing manual hyphenation in pre-Ribbon versions of Word (and I still use the Alt, T, L, H shortcut to get to the automatic hyphenation dialog).

I still don't see the benefit of manual hyphenation though - unless you have a really weak PC that has trouble coping with automatic hyphenation, but that's not the kind of PC you would install Office 2013 or Windows 7 anyway.


2014-12-15 16:12:21

Bandito

I agree with some of the others here regarding the autohypehnate option. Doesn't it do the job as you create and edit your document?

Also, when mentioning a tool available in Word, it would be nice if you mentioned where to find it.

Keep sharing!


2014-12-14 15:27:08

PFL

None of the bullet points that denote some of the conditions that affect the layout after hyphenation must affect your work. The point of the article seems (to me) to be cautious when those kinds of changes occur.


2014-12-14 12:48:32

Damear

PFL, I'm still not getting it. As Maryland points out, I just enable hyphenation, and Word hyphenates my document automatically. Hyphenation is then readjusted automatically whenever I edit text, change margins, printers, machines, whatever.


2014-12-13 16:33:41

Maryland, USA

I don't understand how turning autohyphenate "On" from the outset makes me worse off. It has no effect on spell checking, live or otherwise. I write proposals that are nearly always page-limited. I rely on autohyphenation to let me fit a paragraph into as few lines as possible. I can't wait until it's time to PDF; I need to know long before then whether a sentence must be cut or a figure repositioned or rethought.


2014-12-13 16:19:31

PFL

Damear, I think you missed the entire concept of the article. Read it critically again.


2014-12-13 05:43:52

Damear

Doesn't hyphenation work automatically in the background, so you don't need to hyphenate every five minutes?


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