How To – Hyphenation In Word

Microsoft Word gives you the option to allow automatic hyphenation. This evens out left-aligned paragraphs and minimizes the extra spaces between words in justified paragraphs.

Hyphenation splits words into syllables separated with a hyphen so the first portion of the word is on one line and the ending portion is at the beginning of the next. This results in a much straighter right margin— not as jagged.


Since a picture is worth a thousand words, here are some examples:

Non-hyphenated left-aligned paragraph:

Hyphenated left-aligned paragraph:

Notice the words  ‘sidebar’ and ‘different’ to see how hyphenation occurs and makes them a better fit.

Non-hyphenated justified paragraph:

Hyphenated justified paragraph:

Notice how the justified paragraph has less added spaces between words on the line where hyphenation was added.

How To Turn Hyphenation On

Click the Layout tab and then mouse over Hyphenation. Microsoft Word defines the process.

Layout > Hyphenation > Automatic 

Any words in the document will automatically hyphenate. To cease hyphenation, choose None and all hyphenation will be removed.


Microsoft Word can automatically hyphenate your document to give it a more professional look. All it takes are a couple of mouse clicks. I hope this new tool is useful for you.


About the Author

Dick Evans

Dick Evans has been in the tech industry for more than fifty years. Beginning his career in the '60s on IBM mainframes, he has been a Programmer, a Data Processing Manager (now called Information Systems Manager), a Consultant, an Assistant Professor, and a Writer. He has been published in a number of computer publications and has spoken at conferences here in the US and abroad. He is currently retired from the faculty at Rhode Island College and consulting/writing part-time, holding teaching seminars, and maintaining a number of Web sites. He maintains a blog with technical “stuff” and has a Web site at

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