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Word: How to insert non breaking space

Tutorial by Collin McNeil | Last update on 2023-01-19 | Created on 2014-12-17

Usually, Microsoft Word can wrap a text to the next line at each position at which there is a blank character, in case that the text is too long for the line.

But what about digits, numbers or values with unit symbols (1 km), percent signs (100 %), abbreviations (e. g.) or other words or characters belonging together? If the necessary line break is accidentally inserted between such a number and its units, the text will become illegible and it is looking ugly.

You can prevent this by using a so-called non-breaking space. A non breaking space is exactly looking like a normal space, but it keeps the words together and prevents the text from wrapping at this place.

Insert a non breaking space in Word

There are two possibilities to insert such a blank character into a document in Microsoft Word:

  • On Windows, you can use the key combination CTRL + SHIFT + SPACE to insert a non breaking space. In other words, press they keys CTRL and SHIFT at the time you are pressing the spacebar. On macOS, you can alternatively use the key combination ALT + SPACE instead for the same result.
  • Alternatively, you can keep the ALT key pressed while typing the numbers 0160 on the number keypad. This key combination also works in other Windows applications and not only in Microsoft Word.

By the way, non breaking spaces can be displayed in Microsoft Word by clicking on the ¶ icon in the bar. The none breaking spaces will then be displayed using the ° character (for example, 10°cm). So you can easily distinguish it from the normal spaces in the text.

When exporting the Word document to PDF or when printing, the ° will not be displayed anymore and you cannot distinguish the none breaking space from the normal space character.


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