Hyphenation

 

Hyphenation

Hyphenation refers to the splitting of words between lines. The purpose of this is to spread words evenly along a line so that their spacing is constant creating a more professional appearance and making it easier to read. Not every author uses hyphenation and indeed some would argue that a proliferation of end of line hyphens is equally untidy and makes for less than comfortable reading. If you are going to use hyphenation then do not overdo it.

It is almost inevitable that there will be an example of word splitting in any book you publish despite the sophistication of desktop publishing packages, which give you a choice between arbitrary or manual hyphenation. The problem with such software is that it is rarely written by grammarians and so you will find some odd splits, which you need to manually change. You can readily see the dangers with words such as condominium (split as condom-inium), earnest (ear-nest), figurine (fig-urine) and physiotherapist (physiothe-rapist).

Hyphenation should be the final part of your formatting plan because if you change any significant aspect of your formatting you will probably have to redo the hyphenation and are likely to quickly reach the point where you feel that you are ‘chasing your tail’. Having said that you will find the entire publishing process easier if you have the formatting including hyphenation organised before you begin word processing. Inevitably, this is easier with successive books! Having decided to hyphenate there are two options - automatic or manual hyphenation.

Automatic Hyphenation

Using automatic hyphenation Word hyphenates the entire document from beginning to end. The process is as follows:

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  • Ribbon → Page Layout → select down arrow by Hyphenation → Hyphenation Options
  • Set hyphenation zone to 0.5” (1.27 cm), or 0.75” (1.90 cm) if you prefer, to reduce the number of instances of hyphenation.

Limit the number of consecutive hyphens to 2 - that means that there will be no more than two consecutive lines ending in a hyphen. Even two can look strange so set this option to 1 if you prefer.

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  • Select Automatically Hyphenate Document
  • click Ok

Now you must scroll through the entire document and remove those instances of hyphenation with which you are unhappy. When you find a hyphenation that you wish to remove, act as follows:

  • highlight one of the hyphenated words then go to the ribbon and
  • Home → Paragraph → Line and Page Breaks → select Don’t Hyphenate

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Word removes all the hyphens in that paragraph.

Manual Hyphenation

  • Ribbon → Page Layout → select down arrow by Hyphenation → Hyphenation Options
  • Set hyphenation zone to 0.5”, or 0.75” if you prefer, to reduce the number of instances of hyphenation
  • select Manual

A small pop-up box appears and Word takes you one by one through every instance of hyphenation in the document.

For each instance, you select Yes or No and Word moves on to the next instance having either hyphenated the word or not according to your instruction.

It is possible within that pop-up box to change the position of the hyphen by placing the cursor to the left of the narrow vertical line, which shows the limit of the space for that word on the line.

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Alternative to Hyphenation

Many authors and readers find a proliferation of end of line hyphenation to be as unattractive and uncomfortable to read as irregular word spacing. There is an alternative, which is time consuming but works just as well. Word offers the facility to change character spacing, which will remove hyphenation. This needs to be used carefully to avoid creating something that is equally unpleasant to look at and difficult to read.

  • Use the Word automatic hyphenation function and then look at each instance in isolation.
  • To remove the hyphen you either need to push the first part of the word onto the beginning of the next line to join the second part or, bring the second part (hyphenated onto the next line) back onto the end of the previous line to join the first part of the word. This is achieved quite simply.

if you want to bring the second part of the word back onto the previous line

  • highlight the second part and the whole of the previous line
  • Ribbon → Home → Font → Advanced → Spacing → select Condensed → By → select the amount by which you wish to condense the spacing → Ok

start with 0.1 pt and hopefully that will do the trick. If not try 0.2 pt but not more, otherwise the text will look obviously more condensed than the lines above/below.

if you want to send the first part of the word forward onto the next line

  • highlight the second part and the whole of the previous line
  • Ribbon → Home → Font → Advanced → Spacing → select Expanded → By → select the amount by which you wish to expand the spacing → Ok

start with 0.1 pt and hopefully that will do the trick. If not try 0.2 pt but not more, otherwise the text will look obviously more expanded than the lines above/below.

 

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