Nonbreaking Hyphens

Following up on my recent Bad Breaks tip, I wanted to share a way to keep the negative number sign or hyphen with its corresponding number even if it falls at the end of a line of text.

Here’s an example of how this kind of “bad break” can happen:
The oil/water contact on the northern side of the field (Well ENU-2) is approximately -1,480 ft TVDSS.

I’m sure you would like to keep the minus sign next to the number without putting a hard return there, which may mess things up later if somebody edits the paragraph such that the hyphen is no longer at the end of the line of text. Here’s what that would look like:

Geologist Jack Stack determined that the oil/water contact on the northern side of the field (Well ENU-2) is
-1,480 ft TVDSS.

Well, there’s a jim-dandy solution for that problem. It’s called a nonbreaking hyphen, and it’s formed by first pressing Ctrl-Shift then holding both down while you type the regular hyphen ( – ). Here’s what happens in both cases above after you do this:

The oil/water contact on the northern side of the field (Well ENU-2) is approximately ‑1,480 ft TVDSS.

Geologist Jack Stack determined that the oil/water contact on the northern side of the field (Well ENU-2) is approximately ‑1,480 ft TVDSS.

Jim Dandy to the rescue – GO Jim Dandy, GO!  (That’s from a song.)

The nonbreaking hyphen is also good to use whenever you have phone numbers or Social Security numbers in paragraphs where they could possibly end up being split into pieces by line breaks.

2 Responses to “Nonbreaking Hyphens”

  1. Word: Stop hyphens breaking over a line « CyberText Newsletter Says:

    […] Jeanne’s original post: https://oilpatchwriting.wordpress.com/2010/10/15/nonbreaking-hyphens/ […]

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