Nonbreaking Hyphens and Spaces in InDesign

Hidden in the Type Menu are two special characters that can save you some time and effort in InDesign - nonbreaking hyphens and spaces.

InDesign will break a line wherever there is a space or a hyphen. In almost all cases, this is exactly what you want. But occasionally you end up with a phone number or a proper name you don’t want separated between two lines.

You can try to insert manual breaks to make it flow correctly, but this has drawbacks. First, InDesign’s paragraph composition method sometimes makes it hard to rewrap the text. Second, any changes you make to the text forces you to manually change the wrapping again.

Nonbreaking Hyphen

The nonbreaking hyphen is buried in the Type Menu (Type > Insert Special Character > Hyphens and Dashes > Nonbreaking Hyphen). Use this if you have a phone number that you don’t want to break over two lines.

The top example does not use nonbreaking hyphens in the phone number while the bottom example does.

Nonbreaking Space

The nonbreaking space is also found under the Type Menu (Type > Insert White Space > Nonbreaking Space). I find this useful when I want to keep a person’s name or a company name together on a single line.

The top example does not have a nonbreaking space before the “B.” In the second example, the nonbreaking space keeps “Sketchbook B” together.

InDesign’s composition engine will treat words or numbers joined by the nonbreaking characters as single words and no manual editing will be required.