How to Turn on Automatic Hyphenation in Word: A Step-by-Step Guide

Turning on automatic hyphenation in Word is a simple process that can make your documents look more polished and professional. By following a few quick steps, you can enable this feature and allow Word to automatically insert hyphens where needed to improve the flow of your text.

Step by Step Tutorial to Turn on Automatic Hyphenation in Word

Before we dive into the steps, it’s important to understand what we’re aiming to achieve. Automatic hyphenation helps to create a more visually appealing and balanced document by breaking words at appropriate points to avoid uneven spacing and large gaps between words.

Step 1: Open the Layout Tab

Open the Layout tab in the Word ribbon at the top of the screen.

This tab contains various options for adjusting the appearance of your document, including hyphenation settings.

Step 2: Click on the Hyphenation Button

Locate and click on the ‘Hyphenation’ button within the Layout tab.

You’ll find this button in the ‘Page Setup’ group, usually towards the left side of the Layout tab.

Step 3: Select Automatic

From the dropdown menu that appears, choose ‘Automatic’.

When you select this option, Word will begin to automatically hyphenate your document based on its built-in dictionary and hyphenation rules.

After you complete these steps, Word will apply hyphenation to your document automatically. You’ll notice that words that were previously creating awkward spacing will now be broken up with hyphens, allowing for a cleaner, more balanced appearance to your text.

Tips for Automatic Hyphenation in Word

  • Keep in mind that hyphenation works best with justified text, as it helps to create even spacing between words.
  • If you’re working with columns, automatic hyphenation can prevent large gaps that often appear at the end of lines.
  • You can also manually add hyphens to specific words by using the shortcut ‘Ctrl’ + ‘-‘ (hyphen key).
  • If you find that Word is hyphenating words too often or not enough, you can adjust the hyphenation settings by clicking on ‘Hyphenation Options’ in the dropdown menu.
  • Remember to proofread your document after enabling automatic hyphenation, as it may sometimes hyphenate words in unexpected places.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I turn off automatic hyphenation for specific paragraphs?

Yes, you can select the paragraphs where you don’t want automatic hyphenation and follow the same steps, but choose ‘None’ instead of ‘Automatic’.

Will hyphenation affect how my document prints?

Automatic hyphenation will appear in printed documents just as it does on the screen, ensuring a consistent and professional look.

Can I undo hyphenation once it’s been applied?

Yes, simply go back to the ‘Hyphenation’ button in the Layout tab and select ‘None’ to remove all hyphenation from your document.

Does automatic hyphenation work in all languages?

Word’s automatic hyphenation feature supports multiple languages, but the effectiveness may vary depending on the language’s dictionary and hyphenation rules.

Can I customize the hyphenation rules?

While you can’t directly edit the rules, you can adjust the hyphenation zone and limit the number of consecutive hyphens in the ‘Hyphenation Options’ menu.


  1. Open the Layout Tab
  2. Click on the Hyphenation Button
  3. Select Automatic


In conclusion, turning on automatic hyphenation in Word is a valuable skill that can greatly enhance the readability and visual appeal of your documents. By following the simple steps outlined in this article, you can easily activate this feature and let Word do the work for you. As with any automated process, it’s important to review the results and make any necessary adjustments to ensure that your document maintains a professional and polished look. Whether you’re creating a report, an essay, or any other type of written work, taking the time to enable automatic hyphenation can make a significant difference in the overall presentation of your text. So go ahead, give it a try and see how this small change can create a big impact on your next Word document.

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