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 December 13, 2014)

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Hiding Gridlines

For those times when you remove the borders from your tables, Word provides a way that you can display non-printing ...

Discover More

Copying Data without Leaving the Currently Selected Cell

Copying from one cell to another is easy when editing your worksheet. Doing the copying without selecting a cell other than ...

Discover More

Understanding Decimal Tabs

Word offers a variety of tabs that define different ways to align text. If you need to align numeric values, you'll become ...

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)

Turning Off Word's Second Guessing with Quote Marks

When you type quote marks in a document, Word normally changes them to Smart Quotes. They look better on a printout, but Word ...

Discover More

Splitting the Window

Need to work on two different portions of the same document? The solution is to split Word's document window as described in ...

Discover More

Adding Circles around Letters or Numbers

Want to add some handy circles around text in your document? Believe it or not, Word provides three ways you can accomplish ...

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 9 - 2?

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?


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.