Line breaks in a Word document

Word 365
Occasionally text in paragraphs is not aligned correctly or cannot be positioned as you like. This problem could be a line break, also called soft return or text wrapping break.

A paragraph is created by entering text and pressing the Enter key. It can contain only one word or one sentence, or multiple sentences. Each paragraph ends with a paragraph mark that looks like a reverse P ().

The line break moves the next word to the beginning of a new line without starting a new paragraph. A line break character looks like a right-angle arrow pointing to the left Line break in Word 365.

For example:

  • Text with two paragraphs where lines end with paragraph breaks:
    Example of paragraph break in Word 365
  • Text with two paragraphs where lines end with line breaks:
    Example of line break in Word 365

Note: You can also see a right-angle arrow between two vertical lines Text wrapping break in Word 365. This symbol shows the line break that separate text around an object, wrapping text such as a caption text or an image from the body text:

Example of wrapping text break in Word 365

A line break character and other structural characters, such as spaces, paragraph marks, and tabs (also known as Whitespace characters in typography, nonprinting characters, or formatting marks) are usually hidden, but you can display them.

To insert a line break, do the following:

   1.   Position the cursor in front of the word you want to move to a new line.

   2.   Do one of the following:

  • On the Layout tab, in the Page Setup group, click Breaks, and then click Text Wrapping:
    Line Breaks in Word 365
  • Press Shift+Enter.

Line breaks are used to delimit a specific text or break a line before a word that would otherwise be hyphenated (see more about automatic hyphenation and manual hyphenation).


To remove line breaks, follow the two-step procedure:

   I.   Replace two consecutive line breaks with one paragraph break:

   1.   Open the Find and Replace dialog box by doing one of the following:

  • On the Home tab, in the Editing group, click the Find list and then choose Advanced Find...:
    Advanced Find in Word 365
  • Click Ctrl+H.
  • On the Home tab, in the Editing group, click the Replace button:
    Replace in Word 365

   2.   In the Find and Replace dialog box, on the Replace tab:

Find and Replace in Word 365
  • In the Find what field, type ^l^l (the caret symbol plus the lowercase Ls twice).
  • In the Replace with field, type ^p (the code for a paragraph break).

   3.   Click the Replace All button.

   II.   Replace line breaks with spaces or remove them:

   1.   Open the Find and Replace dialog box.

   2.   In the Find and Replace dialog box, on the Replace tab:

  • In the Find what field, type ^l (the caret symbol plus the lowercase Ls).
  • In the Replace with field:
    • Type a space if you need to place a space instead of each line break.
    • Leave empty if you already have a space at the end of each line.

   3.   Click the Replace All button.

See more about replacing special characters.

Note: Word offers a helpful feature named AutoFormat that can format selected text with a paragraph break at the end of each full line to delete all the paragraph breaks but the last. In some cases, it can determine where the “real” paragraph breaks are and leave them intact. To run AutoFormat, click Alt+Ctrl+K.

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

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