Control Paragraph Formatting in Word 2011 for Mac

By Geetesh Bajaj, James Gordon

Word for Mac 2011 allows you to control paragraph formatting such as hyphenation and pagination, and to avoid unhappy problems like “widows” and “orphans.” To get at these paragraph formatting controls, take these steps:

  1. Choose Format→Paragraph from the menu bar.

  2. Click the Line and Page Breaks tab.


These check boxes affect paragraphs:

  • Widow/Orphan Control: Prevents widows and orphans. The definition for these page-layout anomalies varies, but generally, a widow is a one-line remnant (of a paragraph) that appears at the bottom of a page or column. An orphan occurs when that remnant appears at the top of a column or page.

  • Keep Lines Together: Sometimes Word’s paragraph spacing can cause text that ought to stay together to get separated. For example, you might have a heading near the end of a page and you want the heading to stay associated with the paragraph that follows. Word wants to put the heading at the bottom of a page and then the associated text winds up all by itself at the top of the next page. To prevent this problem, select both the heading and the following paragraph and then select this check box. Word keeps the text and the heading together.

  • Keep with Next: You may want to make sure two paragraphs are always kept together. Select both paragraphs and then select this check box. Word won’t allow a page break to come between them.

  • Page Break Before: If you have a paragraph that you want to always start at the top of its page, select a paragraph and then select this check box. Word makes sure a page break always occurs before the selected paragraph.

Here are some other options you can choose from the Paragraph dialog:

  • Suppress Line Numbers: This works if you’ve turned on line numbering. The lines that are selected when you choose this option aren’t included in the page count.

  • Don’t Hyphenate: This check box does what it says. Select paragraphs that you don’t want Word to use hyphenation with and then select this check box.

  • Tabs: Click this button to display the Tabs dialog.