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MS Word: Keep With Next vs Keep Lines Together

Friday, July 1st, 2011 by | Filed Under: MS Office Help, MS Word

If you’ve ever found yourself wading through the paragraph settings for a Word document then you’ve probably come across these two choices on the Line and Page Breaks tab of the Paragraph dialog box.

(Use the dialog launcher located in the bottom right corner of the Paragraph group on the Home tab to access this dialog box.)

The question is what do they mean and which do you want to use… if any?

Obviously we’ll start with the meaning so that you can make an informed choice when it comes to actually using one of them.

“Keep with next” is used to prevent Word from inserting automatic page breaks between paragraphs.

In contrast, “Keep lines together” will prevent Word from inserting an automatic page break within a paragraph.

Often I’ve helped people who do not know about these choices and end up trying to create these effects manually by inserting extra blank lines or page breaks.

The problem comes in when they try to edit the document.

All those blank lines are pushed around causing weird gaps at the top or bottom of pages… and the manual page breaks will do the same thing.

You’ll have to spend extra time removing or adding blank lines and page breaks every time you edit the document.

This is sooooooo not for me!

The question to ask yourself when deciding which one to use is “What exactly am I trying to prevent from being split onto 2 different pages?”

If it’s separate paragraphs then choose “Keep with next”.

If it’s the lines of a single paragraph then use “Keep lines together”.

Once you’ve decided what type of setting you need begin by selecting the paragraph(s) to be affected.

Use the dialog launcher to get to the Paragraph dialog box.

Make your selection and click OK.


Word will help you to achieve the look you want by preventing page breaks between lines or paragraphs that truly belong together… no matter how much editing you do these things will not be separated.

~ April

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3 Responses to “MS Word: Keep With Next vs Keep Lines Together”

  1. Jeannine says:

    I am writing a document with 3 levels of headings styles in addition to a “Normal” paragraph style. I am not inserting line or page breaks manually and believe I have the paragraph settings for each heading style set to “keep with next” while the Normal style has only Widow/Orphan selected. Yet the headings are still not staying with the first paragraph of the section for the Heading 2 Style. Any thoughts?

    Thank you

  2. Valentin says:

    Hi, I’ll second Jeannine on that. I have the exact same issue and only checking ‘Keep lines together’ on all headers _and_ the first line does the trick. I assumed the same as your explanation, however I can’t explain that behavior. Trial-and-error always works, at least :-).
    Hope this helps.

  3. XRumerTest says:

    Hello. And Bye.

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