How to Control Hyphenation and Line Breaks in iBooks Author

By Galen Gruman

Poor hyphenation and line breaks make your e-book look unprofessional. iBooks Author provides tools that help you control hyphenation and manage line breaks to give your book a polished look. By default, iBooks Author enables hyphenation for text. If you don’t want text hyphenation (such as for titles and headings), turn it off for the current paragraph in the Text inspector’s More pane by selecting the Remove Hyphenation for Paragraph option.


To open the inspector

  • Click the Inspector button in the toolbar.

  • Choose View→Show Inspector.

  • Press Option+Command+I and then click the Text icon button (the T icon).

iBooks Author doesn’t offer a command or special character to disable hyphenation for individual words, like you can find in desktop publishing programs. Nor can you specify hyphenation rules, such as the maximum number of consecutive hyphenated lines or the minimum number of letters before or after a hyphen.

In the Text inspector’s More pane, you can also specify how a paragraph may break across columns and text boxes to accommodate how your text flows.

Normally, the text fills the current column or text box, then continues to the next column or text box. But that approach can lead to awkward situations, such as a heading appearing at the bottom with its related text on the next column or text box. Or a heading might break across columns or text boxes. Or you may get unsightly results known as widows and orphans; a widow is the last line of a paragraph appearing at the top of a column or text box, and an orphan is the first line of a paragraph appearing at the bottom of a column or text box.

Widows are considered more unsightly than orphans because they often take up just part of the line, creating an awkward gap at the top of the column or text box.

There are four options for controlling how paragraphs break and stay together:

  • Keep Lines Together: Prevents a paragraph from breaking across columns or text boxes.

  • Keep with Following Paragraph: Doesn’t allow paragraphs, such as headlines, to be separated from the paragraph that follows.

  • Paragraph Starts on New Page: Forces a page break before the current paragraph, such as for use with top-level headings. (You can manually force a page break by choosing Insert→Page Break, and you can manually force a column break by choosing Insert→Column Break.)

  • Prevent Widow and Orphan Lines: Ensures that no column or text box ends with the first line of a paragraph and that no column or text box begins with the last line of a paragraph. Instead, every column or text box has at least two lines at the top or bottom. Note that, unlike desktop publishing apps, you can’t separately control widows and orphans in iBooks Author.