How to turn on automatic hyphenation in Word: A step-by-step guide

Turning on automatic hyphenation in Word is a breeze and can make your document look more professional. It’s as simple as going to the Page Layout tab, clicking on the Hyphenation button, and selecting "Automatic." By doing this, Word will automatically add hyphens to your text where appropriate, ensuring that your document maintains a clean and uniform appearance.

Step by Step Tutorial: Turning on Automatic Hyphenation in Word

Before we dive into the steps, it’s important to understand what automatic hyphenation does. It helps to balance the spacing between words in justified text and prevents awkward line breaks. This can be particularly useful for longer documents such as reports or essays.

Step 1: Open your document in Word

Open the Word document you wish to add hyphenation to.

Step 2: Go to the Page Layout tab

At the top of the Word window, click on the Page Layout tab.

Page Layout is the third tab from the left, after File and Home. It’s where you can adjust settings like margins, orientation, and hyphenation.

Step 3: Click on the Hyphenation button

In the Page Layout tab, locate and click on the Hyphenation button.

The Hyphenation button is in the Page Setup group, towards the middle of the ribbon.

Step 4: Select "Automatic"

From the drop-down menu, select "Automatic" to enable automatic hyphenation.

By selecting "Automatic," Word will immediately apply hyphenation to your document based on its built-in dictionary and hyphenation rules.

After completing these steps, your document will have automatic hyphenation applied. The text will flow more smoothly, and you’ll likely notice that the right margin looks cleaner and more even.

Tips: Enhancing Your Document with Automatic Hyphenation in Word

  • Keep in mind that hyphenation works best with justified text.
  • If you’re working with columns, automatic hyphenation can help prevent awkward gaps.
  • You can manually override Word’s hyphenation by inserting your own hyphens where needed.
  • Be cautious with hyphenating words that may change meaning when broken up.
  • If you’re not satisfied with the hyphenation, you can always turn it off by following the same steps and selecting "None."

Frequently Asked Questions

Will automatic hyphenation work in all languages?

Automatic hyphenation is language-dependent, so make sure the correct language is selected for your document.

Can I adjust the hyphenation settings?

Yes, you can adjust the hyphenation zone and limit the number of consecutive hyphens.

Does automatic hyphenation affect the document’s file size?

Hyphenation does not significantly affect the file size of your document.

Can I use automatic hyphenation with custom dictionaries?

Yes, Word’s automatic hyphenation works with custom dictionaries as well.

Is it possible to hyphenate only certain parts of the document?

Yes, you can select specific text and apply hyphenation to only those parts.


  1. Open your document in Word.
  2. Go to the Page Layout tab.
  3. Click on the Hyphenation button.
  4. Select "Automatic."


In conclusion, automatic hyphenation in Word is a powerful tool that can elevate the presentation of your document. It’s easy to activate and can greatly enhance the readability and aesthetics of your text. Remember, though, that while automatic hyphenation is a useful feature, it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. Be sure to review your document after applying hyphenation to ensure that it hasn’t affected the meaning or readability of your text. Additionally, consider the nature of your document and your audience before deciding to use this feature. With these considerations in mind, go ahead and give automatic hyphenation a try in your next Word document. Your readers will thank you for the visually appealing and easy-to-read format!

Get Our Free Newsletter

How-to guides and tech deals

You may opt out at any time.
Read our Privacy Policy