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Tips on Formatting in Microsoft Word and in HTML

• Use a Nonbreaking Space to Lock Two Words Together on the Same Line

• Use a Nonbreaking Hyphen to Lock a Hyphenated Word Together on the Same Line

• Use an Em Dash (Long Dash) Instead of a Double Hyphen

• Use an En Dash (the Symbol for To, Through, or Minus) Instead of a Hyphen

 

Use a Nonbreaking Space to Lock Two Words Together on the Same Line

Copyright © 2011–2017 Lynette M. Smith

Whether you're creating a brochure or writing a manuscript in Microsoft Word or updating text in HTML, sometimes you want to make sure two words always appear on the same line of body text.

Here are examples, using an underscore to illustrate where you'd want to "lock" two words together on the same line:

July_24, 2011

Mr._John Jacobs

(a)_apples and (b)_bananas

In addition, if the body text is left justified (ragged right margin), visual appeal is better preserved if the last word of an unusually long line of text is moved to the next line with the word that follows it.

Placing a nonbreaking space between two words serves this function nicely. 

In Microsoft Word, instead of just pressing the Spacebar between the two words you’d like to lock together, press Control-Shift-Spacebar.

Note: If you’re curious and want to click on the Show/Hide Formatting icon—the one that looks like a paragraph symbol (¶)—to display the codes, you’ll see the nonbreaking space displays as a degree symbol instead of a dot between the words.

Even if this text is now flowed into an InDesign document or saved as a PDF, the nonbreaking space still does its job.

In HTML text, instead of typing a regular space between the two words you’d like to lock together, go to the HTML or "Code" view and insert a nonbreaking space between the two words by typing these six characters and symbols (but without the intervening spaces): & n b s p ; (ampersand n b s p semicolon). Another application: You can use a series of nonbreaking spaces at the beginning of a paragraph to achieve the appearance of a first-line paragraph indent.

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Use a Nonbreaking Hyphen to Lock a Hyphenated Word Together on the Same Line

Copyright © 2012–2017 Lynette M. Smith 

Would you like to make sure the two portions of a hyphenated word such as e‑book or x-ray always appear on the same line of body text in Microsoft Word or in HTML, so they're never split between lines? Then you'll love this tip. 

In Microsoft Word, instead of just pressing the hyphen key in that word, press Control-Shift-Hyphen.

Note: If you’re curious and want to click on the Show/Hide Formatting icon—the one that looks like a paragraph symbol—to display the codes, you’ll see the hyphen looks a little longer than an ordinary hyphen.

Even if this text is now flowed into an InDesign document or saved as a PDF, the nonbreaking hyphen still does its job.

In HTML text, instead of typing a regular hyphen between the two portions of the hyphenated word you’d like to lock together, go to the HTML or "Code" view and insert a nonbreaking hyphen at the appropriate location by typing these seven numbers and symbols (but without the intervening spaces): & # 8 2 0 9 ; (ampersand pound-sign 8 2 0 9 semicolon).

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Use an Em Dash (Long Dash) Instead of a Double Hyphen

Copyright © 2012–2017 Lynette M. Smith

Nothing says "typewriter" (remember those?) like a pair of hyphens trying to look like a long dash (officially called an em dash, so called because it's the length of an uppercase M in the font set you're using).

In Microsoft Word, depending on your settings at the time you type the double hyphen, once you type the word following the double hyphen and then press the space bar, the double hyphen may automatically transform into a long dash. But if it doesn't, then place your cursor where you'd like the long dash to appear, and go to Insert, Symbol, and scroll down the resulting set of symbols until you see the em dash; click on it and insert it into your document.

Note: If you're unsure whether you've selected the right symbol, then make sure, when you click on it in the symbol list, that somewhere in that Symbols window you see displayed the words Em Dash—not to be confused with the somewhat shorter en dash, which is the width of an uppercase N.

Now delete the unwanted double hyphen.

In HTML text, go to the HTML or "Code" view, click on the position where you'd like the em dash to appear, and then type these seven characters and symbols (but without the intervening spaces): & m d a s h ; (ampersand m d a s h semicolon).

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Use an En Dash (the Symbol for To, Through, or Minus) Instead of a Hyphen

Copyright © 2012–2017 Lynette M. Smith

A hyphen is not the correct symbol to use in writing or statistics to represent the word to or through, or to represent a minus sign. Instead, to make your writing look more professional, use the en dash, which is the width of an uppercase N. It's appropriate to use an en dash in circumstances such as these: pages 15–35, April 11–15, or a grade of an A–.

Note: The difference in width between the hyphen and the en dash is more subtle in some fonts.

In Microsoft Word, depending on your settings at the time you type a word or number, followed by a space, hyphen, space, word or number, and another space, your hyphen may automatically transform into the wider en dash. But if it doesn't, then place your cursor where you'd like the en dash to appear, and go to Insert, Symbol, and scroll down the resulting set of symbols until you see the en dash and insert it into your document.

Note: If you're unsure whether you've selected the right symbol, then make sure, when you click on it in the symbol list, that somewhere in that Symbols window you see displayed the words En Dash—not to be confused with the somewhat longer em dash, which is the width of an uppercase M.)

Now delete the unwanted hyphen.

In HTML text, go to the HTML or "Code" view, click on the position where you'd like the en dash to appear, and then type these seven characters and symbols (but without the intervening spaces): & n d a s h ; (ampersand n d a s h semicolon).

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