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How to Replace Carriage Returns in WordPad

Updated July 19, 2017

Carriage returns, also known as line breaks or line ends, force text to start a new line. (They are called "carriage returns" because users of manual typewriters had to hit a lever attached to the typewriter carriage to roll the paper up and return the carriage to the beginning of the new line.) Copying text from one program to another often results in lines ending in the wrong place, such as partway across the page. More sophisticated word-processing programs such as Microsoft Word have a Replace feature that will search for and delete carriage returns. WordPad will search and replace text but not carriage returns.

Open the document in WordPad. Above the text you should see a ruler. If the ruler is not there, click on View in the menu bar, then click on Ruler.

Click on View on the menu bar and select Options. Under the WordWrap section, select Wrap to Ruler. The text will reformat so that the line ends match up with the end of the ruler. Short lines in the middle of a paragraph mark places where there are carriage returns that need to be deleted.

Move the cursor to the end of the short line. Press Delete. The text below the short line moves up to fill in the line.

Add a space to separate two words if necessary.

Repeat for each carriage return (line end) to be deleted.

Tip

Double-check for correct spacing between letters and words after deleting carriage returns.

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About the Author

Since 1984 Vivienne Montague has been writing computer training material and craft instructions. In pre-Windows days, she wrote a computer help and tips column for the Bluffs Monitor, a local newspaper in Scarborough, Ontario. Graduation from a secretarial course at O'Sullivan Business College in Montreal, Quebec, followed graduation from high school.