Non-breaking en dash in Word

I call them en rules, but I’m out-voted on that one.

Anyway, in line with one commenter on this post, I’ll point out how it can be done.

If you are in Word and type ’15–34′, the ’34’ can end up on the next line the en dash is breaking. But, Word does the breaking after the en dash.

So…

Option 1

Type ’15– 34′ where the gap after the dash is a nonbreaking space (Ctrl-Shift-Space in Windows, something else in Mac) and then select the nonbreaking space and type Ctrl-D (or go to the Font menu from the Home ribbon). Go to Advanced, then select the Scale drop-down menu and type something like 1%. It does not accept 0%, but a space 1% of the width of a normal one is close enough to invisible. The nonbreaking space after the en dash does not break on either side, so fixes the problem.

Screenshot showing the Font dialogue brought up using Control-D.

Nonbreaking en dash between 14 and 34 using a 1% width nonbreaking space.

Option 2 (the better one, as suggested by Daniel)

After typing/inserting the en dash, go to Insert and then Symbols and select Special Characters and choose No-Width Non Break. If you need it regularly you can assign a shortcut to it.

Screeshot of the dialogue box.

Selecting the No-Width Non Break.

They sure like capitalising everything! No-Width Non Break.

Caveat: The No-Width Non Break is present in Word 2010 (and maybe earlier), but does not actually work, at least in my experience. So, if on early versions of Word, option 1 may be best.

Thanks, Dan!

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About Darren

I'm a scientist by training, based in Australia.

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