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Tip of the Week: Breaking Lines at Em Spaces and En Spaces With Discretionary Line Breaks

This InDesign tip on breaking lines at em spaces and en spaces with discretionary line breaks was sent to Tip of the Week email subscribers on November 10, 2016.

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InDesign treats special white space characters (such as em and en spaces) as nonbreaking. If you want to allow them to break at the end of the line, insert a Discretionary Line Break (from the Insert Line Break submenu, under the Type menu).

InDesign discretionary line break

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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3 Comments on “Tip of the Week: Breaking Lines at Em Spaces and En Spaces With Discretionary Line Breaks

  1. I use xTags a alot and it’s nice that there is a special character that is inserted so it can break (when I tag a file or have it keyboarded).

    This tip is cool, though. It’s what I’ve done on occasion, but I always wondered if it was the right or wrong way.

    Oh David–how come you don’t have a keyboard shortcut for discretionary line break?

  2. Question with the discretionary line breaks. Is this typically inserted directly after the em/en space characters? Would you recommend the same for em/en dashes?

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