How to do a Hard Return in Word: A Step-by-Step Guide

Are you trying to figure out how to do a hard return in Word? A hard return is when you start a new paragraph by pressing the Enter key on your keyboard. This simple action can help organize your document and make it easier to read. In just a few steps, you can master this essential word processing skill.

Step by Step Tutorial: How to Do a Hard Return in Word

Before we begin, it’s important to understand that a hard return is different from a soft return. A soft return, achieved by pressing Shift + Enter, simply moves the cursor to the next line without creating a new paragraph. A hard return, on the other hand, starts a new paragraph and is used to separate ideas or sections in your text. Now, let’s go through the steps.

Step 1: Place Your Cursor

Place your cursor at the point where you want to start a new paragraph.

Your cursor is the blinking line or the point where your next typed character will appear. Make sure it’s exactly where you want your new paragraph to begin.

Step 2: Press the Enter Key

Press the Enter key on your keyboard.

As soon as you press Enter, you will notice that the cursor jumps to the next line, indicating the start of a new paragraph. This is your hard return.

After you complete a hard return, you will see that the formatting of your document changes slightly. The new paragraph will typically have a small indent at the beginning, and there will be a space between the new paragraph and the one above it. This space helps to visually separate the paragraphs and makes your document easier to read.

Tips for Hard Returns in Word

  • When you want to create a list or bullet points, use a hard return after each item to keep them separate.
  • If you’re using a template or certain styles, Word may automatically add spacing after a hard return. Check your settings if you need to adjust this.
  • Use hard returns to separate sections like the introduction, body, and conclusion in an essay or report.
  • Avoid using too many hard returns in a row, as this can create unnecessary white space and make your document look disjointed.
  • Remember that hard returns are useful for creating visual breaks in your text, but they should be used thoughtfully and not excessively.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a hard return and a soft return?

A hard return starts a new paragraph and is created by pressing the Enter key. A soft return simply moves the cursor to the next line without creating a new paragraph and is created by pressing Shift + Enter.

Can I remove a hard return if I make a mistake?

Yes, simply place your cursor at the beginning of the new paragraph and press the Backspace key to remove the hard return.

Will a hard return affect the formatting of my document?

A hard return can slightly change the formatting by adding an indent and space between paragraphs, but you can adjust these settings in Word if needed.

Is there a shortcut for a hard return?

No, the standard way to create a hard return is by pressing the Enter key. There is no shortcut combination for this action.

Can I use a hard return to start a new page?

No, to start a new page, you should use the Page Break function in Word instead of a hard return.


  1. Place your cursor at the point where you want to start a new paragraph.
  2. Press the Enter key on your keyboard to create a hard return.


Mastering how to do a hard return in Word is a fundamental skill that will improve the readability and organization of your documents. Whether you’re writing an essay, creating a report, or just jotting down notes, knowing how to separate your ideas with a hard return is crucial. By following the simple steps outlined in this article, you should now be able to confidently insert hard returns in your Word documents. Remember, while hard returns are helpful, they should be used strategically to enhance your text rather than clutter it. So go ahead, open up Word, and start practicing your new skill. Soon, you’ll be formatting documents like a pro!

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