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How to stop a paragraph from splitting between pages in microsoft word

Tables in Microsoft Word are great, but the default settings for tables are sometimes not what you want. In particular, Word will split individual rows across two pages if it needs to. If you'd rather have Word break tables up between pages so that each row is kept intact and not split across two pages (i.e. force Word to insert a page break before the row rather than in the middle of the row), this lesson will show you how to do it.

Note that this lesson covers Microsoft Word 2007, 2010 and 2013 for Windows, and Microsoft Word 2011 for Mac.

Tell Microsoft Word not to split table rows across pages

This lesson assumes you have already created a table that spans two or more pages (or will do by the time you've finished creating it). Once you've done this, follow these steps:

  • Select the whole table you are working on. By doing this, Word will apply the setting to all rows in the table, including rows you add later.
  • Click the icon with four arrows to the top left of the table as shown below. This will select the whole table. It can be a little tricky to get it first time, but persevere!
  • Once you've selected the whole table, right-click anywhere inside the table and choose Table Properties:
    How to stop a paragraph from splitting between pages in microsoft word
  • In the Table Properties dialog, choose the Row tab. Check that the dialog says Rows 1-x (where x is the number of rows in your table). In the example below the table being edited has 44 rows.
    How to stop a paragraph from splitting between pages in microsoft word
  • Deselect the option to Allow rows to break across pages. This will apply to all 44 rows in my example table.
  • Click OK.

Word will automatically repaginate the document to split the table so that each row is kept intact.

  • This means that a row which was previously split between two pages will move onto the following page.
  • Note that you can also use this technique to format just one row in your table. Simply right-click in the row inside the table that you want to stop from splitting across pages and follow the steps above.

Make your row settings the default for all future tables (the quick way)

Whilst the techniques described are useful, it's a nuisance to have to set these options every time you create a new table in a document. In this section, we'll look at how to make these settings the defaults.

  • First, click somewhere in one of your tables. The ribbon toolbar should change to look like the following:
  • Notice that there are a number of different table styles available to you. We are going to focus on the defaults for the first style shown.
  • Next, right-click on the first button on the toolbar and choose Set as Default:

How to stop a paragraph from splitting between pages in microsoft word

At this point, you have now changed the table settings to match the settings of the current table; you should test it with a new document to ensure that the settings have indeed been set as the default.

Make your row settings the default for all future tables (more options)

It may be that you want more control over how the defaults are set for your tables. The following steps allow you control everything about your default table settings.

    Instead of choosing the Set as Default option as shown above, right-click on the first button on the toolbar and choose Modify Table Style instead:

The last line of the paragraph that is moved to the next page is called a widow. The first line of the paragraph that is left on the page is called an orphan.

The option to keep at least two lines of a paragraph at the top or the bottom of a page is turned on by default (see how to change it below in this tip).

If you need to keep two lines or paragraphs together without splitting them to the different pages. For example:

    keep together an image, a table or an equation and its title (even if you use captions, Word sptils them by default):

How to stop a paragraph from splitting between pages in microsoft word

To format lines or paragraphs, do the following:

1. Select the text which you want to format and do one of the following:

    Right-click on the selected text and choose Paragraph. in the popup menu:

2. In the Paragraph dialog box, on the Line and Page Breaks tab, choose the option you need:

How to stop a paragraph from splitting between pages in microsoft word

  • Widow/Orphan control ensures that at least two lines of a paragraph stay at the top or bottom of a page.

If you uncheck this option, one line of the paragraph can be on a different page. This option is useful, for example, if you create a draft or try to save the space.

How to stop a paragraph from splitting between pages in microsoft word

It is useful for some headings, which should always start at the beginning of the page.

If you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to ask OfficeToolTips team.

How to stop a paragraph from splitting between pages in microsoft word

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How to stop a paragraph from splitting between pages in microsoft word

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How to stop a paragraph from splitting between pages in microsoft word

How to keep two or several words together in a Word document

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You can often improve the look of your document by keeping certain words and paragraphs together on the page or across page breaks. Also, you can use hyphenation to improve overall readability.

Word automatically breaks the text at a space or a hyphen at the end of a line. To keep two words or a hyphenated word together on one line, you can use a nonbreaking space or nonbreaking hyphen instead of a regular space or hyphen.

Click where you want to insert the nonbreaking space.

On the Insert tab, in the Symbols group, click Symbol.

In the box that opens, click More Symbols.

In the Symbol dialog box, on the Special Characters tab, click the Nonbreaking Space row to highlight it, and then click Insert.

Click Close.

Tip: You can also use the keyboard shortcut. Click where you want to insert the nonbreaking space, and press Ctrl+Shift+Spacebar.

Sometimes you want a hyphenated word to stay together on one line, without it breaking across lines.

Click where you want to insert the nonbreaking hyphen.

On the Insert tab, in the Symbols group, click Symbol.

In the box that opens, click More Symbols.

In the Symbol dialog box, on the Special Characters tab, click the Nonbreaking Hyphen row to highlight it, and then click Insert.

Click Close.

Tip: You can also use the keyboard shortcut. Click where you want to insert the nonbreaking hyphen, and press Ctrl+Shift+Minus Sign.

Word automatically breaks paragraphs at the end of a page, so a paragraph that started on one page continues on to the next page. To keep the whole paragraph on the same page, follow these steps.

Right-click the paragraph that you want to keep together. In the box that opens, select Paragraph.

In the Paragraph dialog box, click the Line and Page Breaks tab.

In the Pagination section, select the Keep lines together check box, and click OK.

If two consecutive paragraphs or a subhead and a paragraph are closely related, you might want to keep them on the same page.

Right-click the paragraph or subhead that you want to keep with the content that follows it. In the box that opens, select Paragraph.

In the Paragraph dialog box, click the Line and Page Breaks tab.

In the Pagination section, select the Keep lines together check box, and click OK.

Tip: It’s best not to add additional line breaks between your paragraphs because Word interprets each line break as a beginning of a new paragraph, and page breaks might not occur properly. If you want spaces between paragraphs, use the Paragraph Spacing controls. For more information, see Change spacing between paragraphs.

If a paragraph has a page break in the middle so that only the last line appears at the top of the following page, this lonely line is called a “widow.” If, on the other hand, a paragraph has a page break in the middle so that only the first line appears at the bottom of a page while the rest of the paragraph appears on the next page, this lonely line is called an “orphan.”

If you want to avoid widow and orphan lines in your document, follow these steps.

Right-click the paragraph in which you want to avoid widows and orphans. In the box that opens, select Paragraph.

Click the Line and page breaks tab.

In the Pagination section, select the Widow/Orphan control check box.

If a word is too long to fit at the end of a line, Microsoft Office Word 2007 moves the word to the beginning of the next line instead of hyphenating it. However, you can use the Hyphenation feature to automatically or manually hyphenate the text, insert optional or nonbreaking hyphens, and set the maximum amount of space allowed between a word and the right margin without hyphenating the word.

With automatic hyphenation, Office Word 2007 automatically inserts hyphens where they are needed. If you edit the document later and change line breaks, Office Word 2007 will re-hyphenate the document.

Make sure that no text is selected.

On the Page Layout tab, in the Page Setup group, click Hyphenation, and then click Automatic.

An optional hyphen is a hyphen that is used to control where a word or phrase breaks if it falls at the end of a line. For example, you can specify that the word “nonprinting” breaks as “non-printing” instead of “nonprint-ing.” When you insert an optional hyphen in a word that is not at the end of a line, the hyphen will be visible only if you turn on Show/Hide.

On the Home tab, in the Paragraph group, click Show/Hide.

Click in the word where you want to insert the optional hyphen.

To automatically hyphenate part of a document, do the following:

Select the text that you want to hyphenate.

On the Page Layout tab, in the Page Setup group, click Hyphenation, and then click Automatic.

When you manually hyphenate text, Office Word 2007 searches for text to hyphenate. After you indicate where you want to hyphenate the text, Word inserts an optional hyphen. If you later edit the document and change line breaks, Office Word 2007 displays and prints only the optional hyphens that still fall at the end of lines. Word doesn’t re-hyphenate the document.

Select the text you want to hyphenate.

On the Page Layout tab, in the Page Setup group, click Hyphenation, and then click Manual.

If Office Word identifies a word or phrase to hyphenate, do one of the following:

To insert an optional hyphen in the location that Office Word proposes, click Yes.

To insert an optional hyphen in another part of the word, move the insertion point to that location, and then click Yes.

Nonbreaking hyphens prevent hyphenated words, numbers, or phrases from breaking if they fall at the end of a line of text. For example, you can prevent 555-0123 from breaking; instead, the entire item will move to the beginning of the next line.

Click where you want to insert a nonbreaking hyphen.

The hyphenation zone is the maximum amount of space Office Word 2007 allows between a word and the right margin without hyphenating the word. You can change the hyphenation zone to make it wider or narrower. To reduce the number of hyphens, make the hyphenation zone wide. To reduce the raggedness of the right margin, make the hyphenation zone narrower.

On the Page Layout tab, in the Page Setup group, click Hyphenation, and then click Hyphenation Options.

In the Hyphenation zone, type the amount of space you want.

You can remove all automatic hyphenation and each instance of manual hyphenation, such as optional and nonbreaking hyphens.

To remove automatic hyphenation, on the Page Layout tab, in the Page Setup group, click Hyphenation, and then click None.

To remove manual hyphenation, on the Home tab, in the Editing group, click Replace.

If you don’t see the Special button, click More.

Click Special, and then click either Optional Hyphen to remove manual hyphens, or Nonbreaking Hyphen to remove nonbreaking hyphens.

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When you set pagination options, you can control where automatic page break are inserted or override automatic page breaks.

Important: The following procedures assume that you are in print layout view. If you are not in print layout view, on the View menu, click Print Layout.

Do any of the following:

Keep lines together

You can keep all lines of a paragraph together on a page or in a column so that the paragraph is not split between two pages.

Select the lines that you want to keep together.

On the Format menu, click Paragraph, and then click the Line and Page Breaks tab.

Select the Keep lines together check box.

Keep paragraphs together

You can keep paragraphs together, such as a heading and the next paragraph, on a page or in a column.

Select the paragraphs that you want to keep together on a page.

On the Format menu, click Paragraph, and then click the Line and Page Breaks tab.

Select the Keep with next check box.

Always force a page break before a paragraph

If you want a certain paragraph in your document always to appear at the top of a page, set a page break to occur before the paragraph.

Select the paragraph that you want to follow the page break.

On the Format menu, click Paragraph, and then click the Line and Page Breaks tab.

Select the Page break before check box.

Control widow and orphan lines

By default, Word prevents the last line of a paragraph from appearing at the top or bottom of a page.

Select the paragraphs in which you want to control widow and orphan.

On the Format menu, click Paragraph, and then click the Line and Page Breaks tab.

Select the Widow/Orphan control check box.

Prevent a table row from breaking across a page

Click the table.

On the Table menu, click Table Properties, and then click the Row tab.

Clear the Allow row to break across pages check box.

Insert a manual line break

A manual line break ends the current line and continues the text on the next line. Some paragraph styles include extra space before each paragraph. To omit this extra space between short lines of text, such as those in an address block or a poem, insert a manual line break after each line instead of pressing RETURN .

Click where you want to break a line.

Press SHIFT + RETURN .

Word inserts a manual line break ().

Tip: To view manual line breaks, on the Standard toolbar, click .

Insert a manual page break

Word inserts automatic page breaks based on how your document is set up. However, you can manually insert a page break in a specific location.

Click where you want to start a new page.

In Word 2011 for Mac, on the Document Elements tab, under Insert Pages, click Break, and then click Page.

In Word 2016 for Mac, in the Insert menu, go to Break and click Page Break.

Tip: In Word 2011 for Mac, you can also insert a manual page break by pressing SHIFT + ENTER . If the RETURN and ENTER keys on your keyboard are the same key, press SHIFT + FN + ENTER .

In Word 2016 for Mac, press COMMAND + RETURN.

Delete a manual page break

Select the page break that you want to delete.

If you don’t see the page break, on the Standard toolbar, click .

If your keyboard does not have a key, hold down SHIFT and press the right arrow key , and then press DELETE .

Word wraps text and breaks text between pages automatically. However, when you want to keep text together, use special characters.

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You probably let Word wrap text at the right margin and break pages, on its own. A lot of works goes into that decision, under the hood, and Word does a good job most of the time. There are times, however, when you’ll want to keep words and text together. Fortunately, Word has some easy methods for keeping text together.

Nonbreaking space

Just because there’s a space between two words doesn’t mean it’s Okay to break the pair up. There are just some things you’ll want words to appear on the same line. When this happens, insert a nonbreaking space instead of a regular space between the words. For instance, you probably wouldn’t want the Ph.D following a name to wrap to the next line. To keep Ph.D with the name, enter a nonbreaking space between the last name and Ph.D. You might even want to enter nonbreaking spaces between each name and even a middle initial, to keep the entire name together.

To enter a nonbreaking space, press [Ctrl]+[Shift]+[Spacebar].

Nonbreaking hyphen

A nonbreaking hyphen is, in purpose, the same as a nonbreaking space, but it works with hyphenated words. If you don’t want Word to wrap at a hyphen character, enter a nonbreaking hyphen instead. When the hyphenated word reaches the right margin, Word will wrap the entire word to the next line if necessary, rather than breaking at the hyphen.

To enter a nonbreaking hypen, press [Ctrl]+[Shift]+[-].

Nonbreaking paragraphs and lines

When you don’t want a paragraph or even several lines of text to break between two pages, do the following:

  1. On the Home tab, click the Paragraph group’s dialog launcher (the small arrow at the bottom-right. In Word 2003, choose Paragraph from the Format menu.
  2. Click the Line and Page Breaks tab.
  3. Check the Keep Lines together option, and click OK.

Extras

To find nonbreaking spaces and nonbreaking hyphens in your text, use the Find feature as follows:

  1. On the Home tab, click the Find dropdown in the Editing group. In Word 2003, choose Find from the Edit menu.
  2. In the Find What control, enter one of the following: ^s to find nonbreaking space; ^

To view nonbreaking space and hyphen characters in a document, click Show/Hide in the Paragraph group (Home tab). In Word 2003, Show/Hide is on the Standard toolbar. Word represents nonbreaking space characters with a degree symbol (°) and nonbreaking space characters with a double‑length hyphen (these are a tad harder to distinguish from regular text).

How to stop a paragraph from splitting between pages in microsoft word

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For some documents, it is par for the course to have tables extend from one page to another. As your tables get larger, Word automatically breaks tables so the most information can get on each page. This may mean that a row of your table may start on one page and end on the following page. Obviously, this is not acceptable for some tables. You may have the need to make sure that entire rows of your table stay together.

To make sure that Word doesn’t break a particular row of your table, follow these steps if you are using Word 97:

  1. Select the row (or rows) that you want to keep together.
  2. Choose Cell Height and Width from the Table menu. Word displays the Cell Height and Width dialog box with the Row tab selected.
  3. Make sure the Allow Row to Break Across Pages check box is cleared.
  4. Click your mouse on OK.

If you are using Word 2000, Word 2002, or Word 2003 the process is slightly different. Follow these steps, instead:

  1. Select the row (or rows) that you want to keep together.
  2. Choose Table Properties from the Table menu. Word displays the Table Properties dialog box; you should make sure the Row tab is selected. (See Figure 1.)

How to stop a paragraph from splitting between pages in microsoft word

Figure 1. The Row tab of the Table Properties dialog box.

If you are not sure about where a table may break (or even if it will), but you want to make sure that no row of the table is divided, you simply need to select the entire table in step 1 rather than selecting a single row.

Remember that these steps won’t stop a table from splitting across two pages; it only stops individual rows from splitting across pages.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1827) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) here: How to Stop a Table Row from Splitting Over Two Pages.

Author Bio

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. Learn more about Allen.

I’m getting quite frustrated by the automatic correction in word that moves a hyphenated line of text to the next page if it is the last one. In other words, if a page ends with a word that is hyphenated, the whole line of text is moved to the next page. This is quite problematic for those of us (like me) who use Word in academic research where we both use plenty of long words and have a document length limit (x pages). I consistently lose about a page’s worth of text due to this phenomenon. And I can find no way of turning it off!

This has been asked in another thread, but without proper answer. Does anybody know if it is possible to turn this specific move-whole-line-to-next-page-if-hyphenated function off?

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Thank you for posting your query in Microsoft Office Community.

If you have selected the Automatic option from the Hyphenation menu, Word will automatically insert hyphens into the text to break the words.

To remove automatic hyphenation when you find it in a document and don’t want it, highlight the offending text and choose None from the Hyphenation menu in Page Layout > Page Setup and check if that helps.

I look forward to your reply to assist you further.

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Thanks, Pamelia. I tried toggling the widow/orphan control and it indeed causes the problem. It seems Word interprets whole lines with hyphenated words as belonging to the next line, and therefore ends up pushing the complete 3-4-5 lines to the next page. Very annoying, and an obvious bug.

I can toggle this control for my purposes, but Microsoft should take a look at this buggy behavior. Several lines of text (up to at least five, in my experience) are neither “widow” nor “orphan” in my book.

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You are welcome. The behavior is not buggy, however. Widow and orphan control will not leave a short line at the bottom of a page or at the top. In both cases it will move at least two lines to the next page. Nor will it leave the first line of a paragraph on the bottom of a page. It pays no attention to the hyphenation. Word is working as programmed. Nevertheless, I agree that it is unwanted, particularly because making page count is much more important than looking pretty (“pretty” in the eyes of some–I prefer squared off pages).

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You are welcome. The behavior is not buggy, however. Widow and orphan control will not leave a short line at the bottom of a page or at the top. In both cases it will move at least two lines to the next page. Nor will it leave the first line of a paragraph on the bottom of a page. It pays no attention to the hyphenation. Word is working as programmed. Nevertheless, I agree that it is unwanted, particularly because making page count is much more important than looking pretty (“pretty” in the eyes of some–I prefer squared off pages).

It is indeed buggy, since it doesn’t move only the last two lines to the following page if the second last is hyphenated. As I mentioned above, up to four or five lines are pushed to the next page due to hyphenation. That’s not reasonable and cannot be by design. If it were (for unknown reasons), there should be an option to not have that many lines pushed or to not have hyphenation affect the page break.

If this cannot be recreated on other computers (I can recreate it easily), it may be that it is my Office installation that has this bug.

Word’s Paragraph dialog box consists of two tabs: (1) Indents and Spacing (by default, this tab is at the forefront of the dialog) and (2) Line and Page Breaks. In this post, I briefly explain the four main options on the Line and Page Breaks tab: “Widow/Orphan Control,” “Keep with next,” “Keep lines together,” and “Page break before.”[1]

It is worth remembering that these formatting options are part of the Paragraph dialog box. That means that each option applies to an entire paragraph.

Thus, “Keep lines together” tells Word to maintain the entire paragraph—all of its lines—as one unit on a single page. In other words, you use this setting to avoid splitting a paragraph across pages. When the option is checked (enabled), if the whole paragraph won’t fit at the bottom of one page, Word bumps it to the next page.

Note that this choice is different from Widow/Orphan Control. With “Widow/Orphan Control” checked (enabled), Word will allow paragraphs to split across pages, but won’t permit a single line of a paragraph to dangle by itself at the top or bottom of a page. Instead, it moves the paragraph down so that either (1) the last two lines of the paragraph appear at the top of the following page or (2) the entire paragraph begins on a new page.

Keep with next” also differs from “Keep lines together.” Whereas “Keep lines together” refers to the lines of a single paragraph, “Keep with next” refers to two successive paragraphs. That is, when “Keep with next” is checked (enabled), Word will attempt to keep the paragraph to which the setting has been applied in close proximity to the subsequent paragraph, and if the subsequent paragraph is on the next page, Word will bump the current paragraph to the next page, as well.

People typically use this setting to keep a heading on the same page as the body text that comes after the heading. Note, however, that you usually have to apply the “Keep with next” setting to both the heading and the blank line below the heading, because Word considers the blank line a separate paragraph that requires its own formatting. If you apply the setting only to the heading, it will keep the heading together with the blank line but it won’t keep the blank line together with the text immediately below.

CAUTION: “Keep with next” sometimes causes text to move around within your document for no apparent reason! If text won’t stay where you type it, put the cursor into one of the meandering paragraphs, open the Paragraph dialog, and look to see whether “Keep with next” is checked. If it is, uncheck it. You might have to select the entire document, or several paragraphs, and then uncheck that option.

Page break before” means exactly what it sounds like. When this option is checked (enabled), Word will insert a page break before the paragraph to which the setting has been applied. Of course, you can achieve a similar result by pressing Ctrl Enter (the keyboard shortcut for Page Break).

NOTE: This post is a revised and shortened version of a tutorial about the Paragraph dialog that appears in both my Word 2007 book and my Word 2010 book.

[1] You can apply one or more of these options to a single paragraph or to consecutive paragraphs. To do so, either click somewhere within the single paragraph or select the consecutive paragraphs, then launch the Paragraph dialog (perhaps the simplest method, the keyboard shortcut Alt O, P, works in all recent versions of Word), click the Line and Page Breaks tab, click to check the option(s) you wish to enable, then click “OK” to save your settings.

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How to stop a paragraph from splitting between pages in microsoft word

Unless otherwise noted, all instructions and screenshots are from Microsoft Office for Windows version 2016.

We have this recurring problem where I work. I bet you have it, too.

Sometimes, our Word documents (particularly when they’ve been generated by our time & billing software) leave huge gaps of white space between a heading and the text that’s supposed to go right under it by mysteriously breaking the page right after the heading.

Except, there’s no page break! No one’s inserted a hard page break anywhere — the document’s just stubbornly refusing to put text that will clearly fit on page 1 on page 2.

It’s Block Protect gone bad, that’s what. And it’s really easy to fix. So stop scratching your head and do this instead:

  • Hit CTRL-A to highlight the entire document
  • Go to the Paragraph dialog box (on the Home tab, click the small launcher arrow in the bottom right-hand corner of the Paragraph section)
  • Click on the Line and Page Breaks tab

How to stop a paragraph from splitting between pages in microsoft word

Click this launcher arrow to get to the Paragraph dialog box .

How to stop a paragraph from splitting between pages in microsoft word

See how all those check marks under Pagination (Widow/Orphan control, Keep with next, Keep lines together) look grey or black instead of a regular checkmark? That means that some of your text is block protected and some isn’t.

I could lead you through the whole diagnostic process, show you the “reveal codes” view and let you see what’s happening. But, hey, we’re both in a hurry — let’s just fix the sucker and move on to bigger and better things. (I’ve done the long “here’s what’s happening” video on this below.)

  • Uncheck all those boxes. You might have to click twice to get rid of the check marks
  • Click OK to go back to your document

Voila! No more weird page breaks!

Of course, you might have to go through your document to make sure you don’t have any widows and orphans, headers at the bottoms of pages, etc., in which case you’ll want to turn block protect on for just that small section of text . But at least you’ll have a clean slate to work with.

Here’s a video (showing Word 2010 – the process really doesn’t change between versions) showing exactly how this works:

[To view full-screen, hover your mouse/touch your finger/stylus over the video screen, then click the expand button near the lower right-hand corner of the video player]