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: Smushing Text Together.

Smushing Text Together

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 28, 2018)


I'll bet you already knew that "smushing" is a technical term, right? It is, I believe, a combination of the words "smashing" and "pushing." In this usage, it simply means to squeeze text together by reducing the distance between characters.

Normally, each font installed on your system has a default distance between characters. This distance is calculated based on the typeface used and on the way the font designer wants the typeface to appear. There are simply times when it is necessary to push text closer together, however. In order to do that, simply follow these steps:

  1. Select the text you want to condense.
  2. Display the Font dialog box. (The easiest way is to press Ctrl+D.)
  3. Make sure the Character Spacing (Word 2007) or Advanced (Word 2010 or a later version) tab is selected. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Advanced tab of the Font dialog box.

  5. Using the Spacing drop-down list, choose Condensed.
  6. Using the By control, just to the right of the Spacing drop-down list, specify how much you want your text condensed, in points.
  7. Click on OK.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (12462) 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: Smushing Text Together.

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. ...


Converting Time Notation to Decimal Notation

Want to convert an elapsed time, such as 8:37, to a decimal time, such as 8.62? If you know how Excel stores times ...

Discover More

Combining Word Documents

At some point you may want to insert one Word document inside another Word document. An easy way to do this is to use the ...

Discover More

Select One Cell and Make Another Cell Bold

Excel provides a number of different ways you can apply formatting to a cell based upon various dynamic conditions. One ...

Discover More

Do More in Less Time! Are you ready to harness the full power of Word 2013 to create professional documents? In this comprehensive guide you'll learn the skills and techniques for efficiently building the documents you need for your professional and your personal life. Check out Word 2013 In Depth today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Font Substitution Problems

When your document uses fonts that are not available on your computer system, Word substitutes other fonts that it feels ...

Discover More

Retaining Explicit Formatting after Applying Styles

The formatting in a document is often a mix of styles and explicit formatting, applied over time. You may want to apply ...

Discover More

Shortcuts to Change Text Colors

Want a way to change the color of your text through a shortcut key? You can do so by using the macros described in this tip.

Discover More

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.


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 three more than 1?

2016-06-26 19:18:10


Help: Is there anyone who can help me out there.
I'm slowly going mad, because the text in my Word document seems to have a mind of it's own and it's so frustrating.
I'm writing my autobiography, (so far over eighteen hundred pages of it) and when I finish several pages and save and then print them out to see what they look like, some of the text has squeezed itself together, and at times, the last word of in a paragraph
has "smushed" (love that word) itself up onto the last line. WHY? and how do I fix it. I'm quite old now and not very Comp literate and know no one who can help me, so "Please" tell me how to fix this problem.
Many thanks' if you can,
(I'm using Microsoft version 10 of Word.)

2016-03-17 11:05:17

Peter Buxton

I find Arial Narrow a good font to use to save space.

2016-03-15 10:35:34

Surendera M. Bhanot

Salo G, you may press this sequence of keys to get the result easily:
You can press
<Ctrl>+ d, then <alt>+v+s+b and type point size say -0.6 or whatever space you want.
Here (-) means condensed

2016-03-15 09:07:42


"Smushing" is descriptive and does the job, however if we want to be technical, we can refer to this as "kerning". Wiki's definition: In typography, kerning (less commonly mortising) is the process of adjusting the spacing between characters in a proportional font, usually to achieve a visually pleasing result.
Thanks, Alan, for the great tip. I didn't know I could kern in Word.

2015-06-10 12:58:35


THANK YOU VERY MUCH! I should have read your tip first before wasting an hour of my time.

2014-07-31 08:47:54


Salo: Not that I know of. You could, of course, record a macro that would display the dialog box for you and then assign the macro to a shortcut key.


2014-07-29 10:41:21

Salo G

Hi Allen!
Thanks for all your GREAT tips!
I have a question in relation to Smushing Text Together, I use this tool A LOT! as it's a great way of controlling orphan words, is there an easier way to access this rather than going CTRL+D and then the tab, etc...? Or another way of achieving what I'm doing by this tool, may be an alternate method?



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

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.