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Are You Up to Speed With Hyphenation?
It’s not a dash or an underscore (_), the hyphen (-) is a punctuation mark used to join two words into one – and for such a short character, it plays an important role in any text document. In fact, the hyphen has an entire function in Word 2007 dedicated to its use.
Hyphenation relates to the role of the hyphen when used to separate words at the end of a line. A word that appears at the end of a line, but is too long to fit completely on that line, may be hyphenated. This is especially useful if wrapping words to the next line avoids unsightly gaps in the text of the previous line.
The problem, of course, is that when you put a hyphen at the end of a line, it doesn’t become a permanent part of the spelling of the word. The rules for deciding where to insert a hyphen, therefore, can sometimes cause confusion. Some prefer to split words between consonants – for example ‘splen-dour’; And in some vowels – ‘praise-et’. One letter words should never be split – for example ‘lay’. As a rough guide, the hyphen should be placed in a word in a place that makes the text easier to read.
Word 2007 has a sophisticated hyphenation function, which makes most of the decisions for you. The hyphenation feature can be used to avoid spacing between lines when text is justified, or to make text more even across lines when using ‘ragged’ copy. Hyphenation also promotes better understanding and awareness of the shape of words on a line and enables the writer to produce more professional and elegant looking documents.
The hyphenation feature can be set to automatically or manually hyphenate text, insert optional or non-breaking hyphens, and set the maximum space allowed between words and right margins without hyphenating words.
By selecting Automatic Hyphenation, Word 2007 automatically hyphenates the word over two lines when a word is too long to fit at the end of a line. Automatic hyphenation is a great feature if you’re sure where a hyphen should be inserted. If text is edited, Word automatically re-hyphenates the changed text as necessary.
Manual hyphenation gives the author more control to choose where the hyphen should or should not appear. Again if you edit text, Word will offer no options for new line breaks and will not automatically hyphenate words. This is particularly useful when using compound nouns and verbs, such as ‘in-house’ or ‘e-mail’, and where the style of the house dictates the spelling.
An optional hyphen can be used when you want to ensure that a word is only hyphenated at the end of a line. For example, to ensure that a nonhyphenated word is never broken as ‘nonhyphenated’. An optional hyphen can be inserted after ‘non’ and before ‘hyphen’. To insert an optional hyphen, use the ‘CTRL+HYPHEN’ key. To see optional hyphens, select the Show and Hide function from the Paragraph group on the Home tab.
A non-breaking hyphen can also be inserted between words or phrases that you don’t want to break at the end of a line. For example in a sequence of numbers, the telephone number ‘Telephone: 555-5555’ should not break on one line.
A non-breaking hyphen can be typed to ensure that the number is not split between two lines. To insert a non-breaking hyphen, click where the hyphen appears and press ‘CTRL+SHIFT+HYPHEN’. Now the whole number will go to the next line and will not split at the hyphen point.
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