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: Using Manual Line Breaks with Justified Paragraphs.

Using Manual Line Breaks with Justified Paragraphs

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated November 21, 2015)

2

Many people use justified paragraphs in their documents. These types of paragraphs align both the left and right edges of the text in the paragraph, much like what is done in many books and magazine articles. If you are one of these people, you may have noticed that when you add a manual line break (Shift+Enter) in a justified paragraph, Word forces the line to the full width of the paragraph. This can look very strange and ruin the appearance of your text.You can avoid this problem by default, however, by following these instructions:

  1. Display the Word Options dialog box. (In Word 2007 click the Office button and then click Word Options. In Word 2010 and later versions, click the File tab of the ribbon and then click Options.)
  2. Click Advanced at the left side of the dialog box and scroll down to the Layout Options. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Layout Options area of the Word Options dialog box.

  4. Select the Don't Expand Character Spaces on a Line that Ends with SHIFT+RETURN checkbox.
  5. Click OK.
  6. Again, that will make this the default for manual line breaks.If you don't want the default option, there is another way to work around it. Enter a tab character just before the manual line break. When you do, Word makes the line with the tab left aligned, ignoring the justification alignment you applied to the whole paragraph.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (10912) 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: Using Manual Line Breaks with Justified Paragraphs.

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

Word Won't Capitalize Some Sentences

By default, Word capitalizes the first letter of sentences as you type. If you notice that Word doesn't capitalize some ...

Discover More

Converting Forced Text to Numbers

If you have some numbers stored in cells that are formatted as text, you may get some surprises when you try to use those ...

Discover More

Moving the Insertion Point in a Macro

One of the common things done in macros is to somehow "process" documents, which often means moving the insertion point ...

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)

Using Optional Hyphens

Adding hyphens to your document can affect the way in which Word wraps text from one line to the next. Optional hyphens, ...

Discover More

Automatic Non-breaking Spaces in Dates

It drives some people crazy to have a date break across two lines. If you find yourself in this mindset, then you'll ...

Discover More

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 ...

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 six more than 8?

2015-11-23 09:03:25

Allen

Melody: There is a good chance it will look a bit different. The screen shot in the tip is specifically from Word 2016.

-Allen


2015-11-23 09:01:54

Melody

I have Word 2010, and I found the "Layout Options" as a subheading under "Compatibility Options for." It looks a little different than the provided screenshot.


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.