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Keep Words Together with No Break

C.V. wrote:

I have a client whose company name is two words, let’s say “Typographic University.” Is there a way to keep these two words always together, and never have them break apart at the end of a line, in InDesign? A script? A setting in the Dictionary?

While there’s no way to add this sort of thing to a dictionary, you can use InDesign’s No Break feature. To stop any word or words from breaking, select the word or phrase and choose No Break from the Control panel menu (when it’s in Character formatting mode in CS1 or CS2, or anytime in CS3). You can also find this in the Character panel. However, if you’re going to use it a lot, I highly encourage you to give it a shortcut with Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts.

Of course, you don’t want to apply No Break to each and every instance of the company name! Instead, open Find/Change (Command/Ctrl-Shift-F) and apply the formatting to the Change To field. (You may have to click the More Options button to see the formatting options.)


When you click Change All, InDesign searches for all instances of the phrase and applies the No Break character format to it. (You get bonus points if you use character styles instead of manually applying the formatting! ;) )


David Blatner

David Blatner

David Blatner is the co-founder of the Creative Publishing Network, InDesign Magazine, and the author or co-author of 15 books, including Real World InDesign. His InDesign videos at are among the most watched InDesign training in the world. You can find more about David at
David Blatner

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37 Comments on “Keep Words Together with No Break

  1. This “No Break” may also be built into character styles..for example, if our editorial department never wants us to break a URL, they could style all URLs with a character style and then in inDesign, you can control how that character style breaks….

  2. Nice tip! You could also find & change “Typographic University” with “TypographicUniversity”, that should do the trick as well.

  3. Sorry about that, the form somehow changed what I wrote?

    What I meant was to replace it with “Typographic[non-breaking space]University”.

  4. That may not lead to the same result, as with hyphenation turned on, the words may break themselves, since only the space between them is ?protected?. What?s more, the non-breaking space has also a fixed width, whereas the no-break attribute simply does what it says. So David?s solution should be the safer one for the problem.

  5. L. Thomas: That is a great idea! I didn’t think of using text variables in CS3. I have found it very annoying that text variables cannot break across two lines, but in this case it would be exactly what you want.

  6. Wolf, CS3 has a variable width non-breaking space as well as the regular fixed-width one. But as you say, you’d still have the problem of both words hyphenating (unless you disabled those in the Dictionary).

  7. Yeah very cool idea about creating a custom text variable! My only initial problem with that it’d be awkward to enter as you’re typing. You can’t assign a keyboard shortcut to them, you’d have to right-click and choose it from the Insert Variable fly-out menu.

    But a different approach would be to go ahead and enter “Typographic University” normally as you write, even use “tu” as an Autocorrect shortcut. Or say you’ve placed a big Word file with Typographic University sprinkled liberally throughout.

    Create and insert one custom text variable called Typographic University, then copy the variable to the clipboard.

    Now you can use Find/Change to replace all the normal instances with the variable! (Use the Change To field’s flyout menu, Other > Clipboard Contents, unformatted.)

    I see that inside a variable, the spaces in between words are flex-width by default, and as David said, variables are non-breaking by default.

  8. Sorry, here in Germany we haven’t been provided with localized trial versions until … a short time ago, so I’m still on CS2 … and, well, the pricing debate keeps going on in another place …  :o}

  9. One thing to be careful about with the No Break styling is when doing later edits. This styling can be accidently extended to affect more text than desired. It’s like bold text… if the last letter of a word is bold and you click after it and start typing, the new text is also bold. Likewise with No Break. If you click right after some no break text and start typing, it retains the no break formatting. Since you can’t see the formatting it can sneak up on you. You can unknowingly create large areas of no break text. To avoid it I don’t style the last letter as no break. In this example I’d make “Typographic Universit” no break, I wouldn’t format the “y” as no break. This way you can click after the “y” and keep typing without fear. InDesign won’t break between the “t” and “y” so you get the desired affect without worrying about later edits.

  10. More on text variables. When I wrote earlier, I was thinking of user-defined variables in Framemaker, which can be entered with keystrokes.

    The Text Macros utility in InCopy is not nearly as sophistocated as variables in FM but one can insert via code or keystroke a Name of Company that will not break: paste it into Macro text and choose Remember Text Attributes. This also removes necessity of typing name of company many times.

    If the client is writing a lot of material, buying a copy of InCopy might be cost efficient.


  11. Daniel that is an *excellent* tip, thank you!

    Thomas, yes, the Text Macros feature in InCopy is something I’ve often wished I could get in InDesign. Good tip about using the Remember Text Attributes to keep the no break formatting. The best thing is that once you place that into InDesign it automatically retains that formatting, too. And then you could always unlink the InCopy story if you weren’t using the “official” IC/ID workflow, to turn the story into a regular text frame in ID.

  12. All:
    CS2: I have been trying to apply the no break to one instance of selected text for a couple of days and I still can’t find the “no break” command on the control palette.
    what does this mean “…(when it?s in Character formatting mode in CS1 or CS2…”

  13. Murphy’s Law…after looking for it in the help files to no avail, and searching the control panel for 2 days, I find it two minutes after I post a question to the ID blog.

    For those still looking:
    Use the “A” button on the very left of the control panel at top. Then look to the very right of it and find a tiny twirly triangle. Twirl it down and in the middle of a long list is “no break”.

  14. Jessica, I’m glad you found it! Yes, the “A” button is the Character mode of the Control panel. (The pilcrow character beneath it is the Paragraph formatting mode.) The thing on the far right is the panel’s menu.

  15. Aha! so that’s what a paragraph glyph is called. It’s fun to say “Pilcrow, pilcrow, pilcrow…”
    It’s true, I didn’t know what or where a “control panel menu” was, so I had to search. ID “help” didn’t offer any pictures, so I turned to my ID CS2 Visual Quickstart, where it’s called a “control palette”….

  16. Brewster wrote that he built ?No Break? into character styles, e.g., for URLs. I tried this too for my URL character style, but then almost everything on my 20 page document disappeared! (The page has several character styles, and URL was the only one I built “No break” into). Any ideas?

  17. Yeah, Kay, that is definitely a problem with No Break — it’s an extreme measure. If the URL is too wide for the text column, it will force itself (and all the text after it) to be overset. You can see it again using Edit > Edit in Story Editor. I personally would not apply it to URLs, except for very short URLs.

  18. Export Text to File.txt InDesign Tagged Text. In Text Editor (like NotePad) search Word[space] and replace with Word[space] . Or Word_1[space]Word_2 and replace with Word_1[space] Word_2. Save File.txt. Place File.txt in InDesign. Voilà!

  19. Sorry!!! Export Text to File.txt InDesign Tagged Text. In Text Editor (like NotePad) search Word[space] and replace with Word [space] . Or Word_1[space]Word_2 and replace with Word_1 [space] Word_2. Save File.txt. Place File.txt in InDesign. Voilà!

  20. What I do for URLs and email addresses is to make a “no break” character style (nothing else specified except the “no break” attribute”) and use search/replace to apply it to all instances of:


    There’s still the occasional email address or URL that breaks where I don’t want it to, but this kills a good 90% of them. And if I weren’t lazy, I could write a script to get it to 99% by including all the international domain extensions.

    Hope this helps somebody.

  21. Hi everbody, I really struggle the technical stuff of how to keep text together. Is there really not a REAL shortcut of doing this? In Word Perfect, for example, you only have to press Ctrl+space bar and everything you want together, stays together. There is also a thing with hyphenating words at a certain place. In Word Perfect also you press Ctrl+the hyphen key and the word will then only be hyphenated at that specific point. Please help me ’cause I’m getting very frustrated.

  22. @Christa: InDesign doesn’t come with a keyboard shortcut for the No Break command, but it only takes 1 minute to add one using Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts. It’s in the Product Area called “Panel Menus”

  23. There is a way to do this in inDesign, similar to the QuarkXpress command of Command+Space you can use command+option+x and this will add a space that keeps both words either side of it together. Hope this helps for the quick adhoc uses…

  24. This is very informative. Please tell me how I can avoid a word from breaking by default. I am working with Oriya language using the font OR-TTSarala developed by CDAC. Many words break up and when I use no break for some of the words, I notice that some other word in the paragraph breaks up.

  25. @Daniel: If you don’t want words to hyphenate at all, you might consider changing the language to No Language, or just turning off the Hyphenate feature in the Control panel (or better, in the paragraph style definition).

    To stop particular words from hyphenating in cs4, you could apply a no break character style with a grep style (which we talk about elsewhere in a different blog post, I think).

  26. Hello everybody! I am using InDesign CS4, I want to set “/” (without quote) non breaking character. How can I do that? Your suggestion is highly appreciated.

  27. @Indra: correct, InDesign will always consider a break after a forward slash. Pagemaker had a non-breaking slash, and I made good use of that.
    But an easy find-and-replace can fix it: search for


    and replace with just No Break in the Change To formatting. The “^?” code is the ‘any character’ wildcard for regular searches.

  28. The +no break thing doesn’t work for me with epub output.

    My name T’sais ends up on the end of one line and on the next line.

    is there any way to fix this for epub output?

  29. hmm, i wish there would be an option to turn of html, so we can prevent our posts from being altered when not using html.

    anyway, Indesign breaks like this on epub export:


    I’ve tried adding +no break to the whole word as well as just to the apostrophe… no luck