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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

MS Word tip of the Day

The No-Width Optional Break symbol.  Heretofore known as NWOB™. Assign a shortcut key to it and use it, your word text flow (and readers) will thank you.

A NWOB™ is a symbol that tells Word that “don’t insert a visible space here, but if you need to break this text across two lines, this is a good place to do it.”  This comes in handy if you have to write Shakespearesque prose like the following:
“service provided as part of a combined authentication/‌authorization/‌payment module”. 

See how the lines wrap in an awkward, unsightly manner? (UPDATE: depending on your browser and the weather pattern, automatic breaks may actually already be inserted around the /s. Not so in Word - trust me.)

With the NWOB™, you too can flow your text gently to the margins of your document, leaving no unsightly large space behind in your document.  For just three easy payments of $19.99… To insert a NWOB™ go to the Insert tab and click Symbol, then More Symbols.  Then click the Special Characters tab, scroll down and locate the No-Width Optional Break.  Select it, and before you do anything hasty, add a shortcut key, now that you know about it, you’ll want to use the NWOB™ again.  (I use Ctrl+​​Shift+​​Alt+​​Space.)

So now your same Pulitzer worthy prose can flow more naturally:
“service provided as part of a combined authentication/​authorization/‌payment module”. 

PS! The ​ numeric reference is HTML4’s version of the NWOB™.  I use it above in my Ctrl+​Shift+​Alt+​Space shortcut. Note that annoyingly, Live Writer is not kind to this character, it removes it when you enter the Source panel.

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