How to Insert a No Break Hyphen


The no-break hyphen is a feature used in text preparation to keep certain words, phrases or numbers from breaking and continuing onto the next line. Non-breaking hyphens are most often used when typing URLs for websites, phone numbers or addresses and when using proper names or letter combinations such as A-Z . The directions for how to insert a no-break hyphen in a Word or WordPerfect document are very similar. For Adobe PDF or Open Office, see the directions under Resources.

  • Determine whether you need a no-break hyphen. To do this, watch for words that are dividing oddly as you get to the end of a line or for numbers you want to keep intact. If you are ending up with too much blank space or with words that just hang there looking messy, most likely you need a no-break hyphen.

  • Place the cursor where the word or phrase has been breaking. Hold down the CTRL and SHIFT keys at the same time and press the hyphen key. This will insert your no-break hyphen. In most word-processing programs, they will not appear in the text but you will know they are there, especially when you see your finished document.

  • Check to see that your no-break hyphens are working as you envisioned by going to Print Preview, or just print the page on which you have inserted them. You may need a few trial runs before you feel confident about using no-break hyphens.

Tips & Warnings

  • All hyphens are not created equal. To get to know all the different kinds, study the "en dash" and "em dash" as well as the standard horizontal line, which some writers use for emphasis instead of the standard hyphen because it is more dramatic. Whether you call it a no-break hyphen or a non-breaking dash, its purpose in a line of type is different than the standard hyphen or dash.
  • Study the directions thoroughly before attempting to insert no-break hyphens into a document you are creating in PDF or auto-format. Hard hyphens may be embedded in these programs, which could wreak havoc in your finished document if you don't know what to expect or how they might interact with your manually inserted no-break hyphens.

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