How to Turn Off Orphan Control in Word: A Step-by-Step Guide

Turning off orphan control in Microsoft Word may sound like a peculiar task, but it’s actually a simple formatting tweak. It’s all about preventing single lines of paragraphs from being stranded at the bottom or top of a page. By disabling orphan control, you can take full control of how your document looks, no matter how unconventional it may seem.

Step by Step Tutorial: Turning Off Orphan Control in Word

Before we dive into the steps, it’s essential to understand that orphan control is a feature designed to keep the first line of a paragraph from being left alone at the bottom of a page. By turning it off, you’re allowing that to happen, which may be necessary for specific document designs or preferences.

Step 1: Open the Paragraph Settings

To turn off orphan control, you’ll need to access the paragraph settings in Microsoft Word.

Once you’re in your document, you can find these settings by right-clicking on any paragraph and selecting ‘Paragraph…’ from the contextual menu. This will open up a new window with several tabs and options for paragraph formatting.

Step 2: Navigate to the ‘Line and Page Breaks’ Tab

In the Paragraph window, you’ll see multiple tabs at the top. Click on the ‘Line and Page Breaks’ tab to find the orphan control settings.

This tab contains several checkboxes that control different aspects of how text flows across pages. Orphan control is one of these options.

Step 3: Uncheck the ‘Widow/Orphan Control’ Box

In the ‘Line and Page Breaks’ tab, you will see a checkbox labeled ‘Widow/Orphan Control.’ To turn off orphan control, you need to uncheck this box.

By unchecking this option, you’re telling Word that it’s okay to leave a single line of a paragraph at the bottom or top of a page, which is the default behavior when orphan control is enabled.

Step 4: Click ‘OK’ to Apply the Changes

After you’ve unchecked the ‘Widow/Orphan Control’ box, click ‘OK’ at the bottom of the Paragraph window to save your changes and close the window.

Your document will now reflect the new setting, and you may see single lines of paragraphs at the tops and bottoms of pages where they weren’t allowed before.

After completing these steps, your document will no longer automatically prevent orphan lines. You’ll have greater flexibility in how your paragraphs break across pages, which can be useful in certain design scenarios.

Tips for Managing Orphan Control in Word

  • Keep in mind that turning off orphan control may affect the professional appearance of your document. Use it wisely!
  • If you’re working with a lengthy document, consider turning orphan control back on after you’ve made the necessary formatting adjustments.
  • Remember that turning off orphan control will apply to the entire document unless you specify otherwise.
  • If you only want to turn off orphan control for specific paragraphs, you’ll need to adjust the settings for each paragraph individually.
  • Regularly check your document’s layout after turning off orphan control, especially if you make further edits, to ensure everything looks as intended.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an orphan in Microsoft Word?

An orphan is a single line of a paragraph that appears at the bottom of a page, separated from the rest of the text. Orphan control is a feature that prevents this from happening.

Will turning off orphan control affect the entire document?

Yes, unless you specify otherwise. You can apply different settings to different sections or paragraphs by selecting them before opening the Paragraph window.

What is the difference between an orphan and a widow in Word?

An orphan is the first line of a paragraph that appears at the bottom of a page, while a widow is the last line of a paragraph that appears at the top of the next page. Widow/orphan control in Word handles both scenarios.

Can I turn off orphan control for a single paragraph?

Yes, you simply need to select the paragraph you want to adjust before opening the Paragraph window and changing the settings.

If I turn off orphan control, can I turn it back on later?

Absolutely. Just follow the same steps and re-check the ‘Widow/Orphan Control’ box to turn the feature back on.


  1. Open the Paragraph Settings
  2. Navigate to the ‘Line and Page Breaks’ Tab
  3. Uncheck the ‘Widow/Orphan Control’ Box
  4. Click ‘OK’ to Apply the Changes


Turning off orphan control in Word might seem like a small thing, but it can significantly impact your document’s layout. Whether you’re creating a unique visual design or just trying to squeeze in that last line, understanding how to manage this feature gives you one more tool in your formatting toolbox. So, the next time you find yourself wrestling with a stubborn paragraph that just won’t stay put, remember that you have the power to tweak how Word handles your text. Happy formatting, and may your documents always look exactly the way you want them to!

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