Using automatic hyphenation

Word 365 2013 2010 2007 2003
Hyphens play two essential roles in writing – they break single words into parts on syllable boundaries (optional hyphens), and they join separate words into a single word (mandatory hyphens). In the Automatic hyphenation mode, Microsoft Word automatically detects syllable boundaries and inserts optional hyphens for words at the end of the line. If you edit the text in a way that the hyphenated word is no longer at the end of the line, Word removes the optional hyphen.

To enable the automatic hyphenation, follow these steps:

   1.   Make sure that no text is selected. Otherwise, Word applies hyphenation settings only to the selected fragment.

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

Automatic Hyphenation in Word 2016

Also, you can enable the automatic hyphenation in the Hyphenation dialog box. On the Layout tab, in the Page Setup group, click the Hyphenation button and select the Hyphenation Options... item:

Hyphenation options in Word 2016

The Hyphenation dialog box gives you more control over hyphenation in Word:

  • For automatic hyphenation select the Automatically hyphenate document checkbox.
  • If you do not want to hyphenate words in uppercase letters, leave the Hyphenate Words in CAPS checkbox blank.
  • Set the length of the Hyphenation zone.
    This value is the distance in inches between the end of the last complete word in a line of text and the margin - in other words, the degree of raggedness Word should allow. Word uses this measure to determine if a word should be hyphenated. Large values decrease the number of hyphens; smaller values increase the number of hyphens but reduce the raggedness of the right margin.

    Note: The Hyphenation Zone option is disabled for documents saved in the .docx format because the hyphenation feature has changed staring from Word 2013. To use the Hyphenation Zone option, save the document in .doc format.

  • If you don't want consecutive lines to have hyphens - it can make a document look a little strange, and you will need to rewrite some parts of it - set a limit in the Limit consecutive hyphens to box.

See also this tip in French: Utilisation de la coupure de mots automatique.

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

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