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: Hyphenating a Selection.

Hyphenating a Selection

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 9, 2018)

2

Hyphenation is the process of adding hyphens to words at the beginning of lines so the hyphenated part will fit at the end of the previous line. The hyphens are inserted between syllables in a word. Word offers two types of hyphenation: automatic and manual. If you choose the first, you can only hyphenate your entire document. If you choose the latter, you can hyphenate your entire document or any portion thereof. To hyphenate just a selection of your document, follow these steps:

  1. Select the text you want to hyphenate.
  2. Display the Page Layout tab of the ribbon.
  3. Click the Hyphenation tool (in the Page Setup group) and then click Hyphenation Options. Word displays the Hyphenation dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Hyphenation dialog box.

  5. Click on the Manual button.
  6. You are shown the first possible hyphenation.
  7. If the word being proposed for hyphenation is long enough, you may be able to specify a different place for it to be hyphenated. Simply click on one of the proposed hyphenation points.
  8. Click on Yes to hyphenate the word at the noted point, or click on No to skip hyphenating the word. You are then shown the next possible hyphenation.
  9. Repeat steps 6 and 7 for the remainder of the selection.
  10. When asked if you want to hyphenate the rest of the document, click on No.

Again, there is no automatic way to hyphenate just a selection. There is a way to get around this, however—provided the portion you want to hyphenate is an entire paragraph. All you need to do is select the portions of the document you don't want to hyphenate, and then follow these steps:

  1. Display the Home tab of the ribbon.
  2. Click the small icon at the bottom-right of the Paragraph group. Word displays the Paragraph dialog box.
  3. Make sure the Line and Page Breaks tab is selected. (See Figure 2.)
  4. Figure 2. The Line and Page Breaks tab of the Paragraph dialog box.

  5. Ensure the Don't Hyphenate check box is selected.
  6. Click on OK.

Now, when you choose to do an automatic hyphenation, all the paragraphs formatted for no hyphenation are skipped, and only those paragraphs that are not formatted that way are hyphenated. If you use styles, of course, you can make this even easier by setting up some sort of paragraph style that has the hyphenation setting turned on or off according to your needs.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (13009) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Hyphenating a Selection.

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

Footnotes for Tables

Word includes a powerful feature that allows you to add footnotes and endnotes to your document. What if you want them at ...

Discover More

Displaying the "Last Modified" Date

Want to know when a workbook was last modified? Want to put that date within the header of your worksheet? Here's how to ...

Discover More

Getting Excel Dates into Outlook's Calendar

If you want to move information from Excel into Outlook, how you do it can be a bit tricky. Here's an example of how you ...

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)

Creating a Master Document Using Existing Subdocuments

If you decide to create a master document, it is easy to do by just adding one or more subdocuments to an existing ...

Discover More

Turning Off Hyphenation for Individual Words

Word does a semi-decent job when it comes to automatically hyphenating your documents. It even lets you exclude certain ...

Discover More

Word Count for a Section

Dynamic word counts for your entire document are easy to get when you use using fields. There is no built-in method to ...

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 three less than 6?

2019-11-13 19:35:51

Ron W

I am simply looking for how to select three consecutive words and ask word to hyphenate them. And when I choose manual hyphenate; my selection is ignored while word runs around the document suggesting hyphenation is places I'm not interested in at all.


2016-02-15 15:19:17

Dirk Hoffmann

How do I change suggested hyphens? The following suggestion does not work. I am not able to specify another place.

If the word being proposed for hyphenation is long enough, you may be able to specify a different place for it to be hyphenated. Simply click on one of the proposed hyphenation points.
Click on Yes to hyphenate the word at the noted point, or click on No to skip hyphenating the word. You are then shown the next possible hyphenation.


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.