What Is a Widow Orphan in MS Word?

Written by david sarokin Google
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Microsoft Word is a common word processing program for creating documents in an almost endless variety of formats by combining text, images, borders and backgrounds. Word automates many tasks, such as borders, page numbering, default fonts, title formats and spelling check. One automated feature, widow and orphan protection, prevents stray lines from appearing in your document.

Microsoft Word

Word is a program in the Microsoft Office suite of productivity software that also includes Excel spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentation software. Many versions of Microsoft Office have been released with updated software programs, such as Word 2010, Word 2007 and Word 2003. All versions of Word, however, include the widow and orphan protection feature.

Paragraph Widows

A widow occurs when the last line of a paragraph appears as the first line of text on a new page. For example, if the bulk of a paragraph is on the bottom of the first page of your document, the widow would be the single last line of the paragraph on the second page.

Paragraph Orphans

An orphan is a first line of a paragraph that appears as the last line on a page. The bulk of the paragraph is printed on the following page.

Widow and Orphan Protection

Word software includes built-in widow and orphan protection. By default, the program keeps the first two or last two lines of a paragraph together on a page to avoid creating a widow or orphan line.

Adjusting Widow and Orphan Defaults

The "Paragraph" menu options in Word include pagination commands for enabling or disabling widow and orphan protection as well as adjusting how and when lines are kept together when a page break occurs in a document.

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