How to Fix Widows and Orphans in Microsoft Word?

Last Updated: Feb 15, 2024 by

When it comes to creating professional-looking documents, the layout and design are just as important as the content itself. One common issue that can affect the overall appearance of a document is the presence of widows and orphans. These terms refer to lines of text that are left alone at the beginning or end of a paragraph, separated from the rest of the text. In this article, we will discuss what widows and orphans are, why they are problematic, and how to fix them in Microsoft Word.

Understanding Widows and Orphans

Widows and orphans are terms used in the publishing industry to describe lines of text that are separated from the rest of the paragraph. A widow is a single line of text that appears at the top of a page or column, while an orphan is a single line of text that appears at the bottom of a page or column. These lines are considered problematic because they disrupt the flow of the text and can make the document look unprofessional.

Why Widows and Orphans are Problematic

Widows and orphans can be problematic for a few reasons. First, they can create awkward spacing in the text, making it difficult to read. Second, they can disrupt the visual balance of the page, making it look unprofessional. Finally, they can also affect the overall layout of the document, causing it to look disjointed and unorganized.

How to Fix Widows and Orphans in Microsoft Word

Fortunately, Microsoft Word has a built-in feature that can help you fix widows and orphans in your document. Here’s how to do it:

Step 1: Select the Paragraph

The first step is to select the paragraph that contains the widow or orphan. You can do this by clicking and dragging your cursor over the text or by placing your cursor at the beginning of the paragraph and pressing “Ctrl + A” to select the entire paragraph.

Step 2: Open the Paragraph Dialog Box

Next, click on the “Home” tab in the top menu bar and then click on the small arrow in the bottom right corner of the “Paragraph” section. This will open the Paragraph dialog box.

Step 3: Adjust the Line and Page Break Options

In the Paragraph dialog box, click on the “Line and Page Breaks” tab. Here, you will see a section called “Pagination.” Check the box next to “Widow/Orphan control” to enable this feature. You can also adjust the “Keep lines together” and “Keep with next” options to further control the layout of your text.

Step 4: Click “OK”

Once you have made your adjustments, click “OK” to apply the changes to your document. This will prevent any widows or orphans from appearing in the selected paragraph.


In conclusion, widows and orphans can be a common issue in document design, but they can easily be fixed using Microsoft Word’s built-in features. By following these simple steps, you can ensure that your document looks professional and polished, without any awkward spacing or layout issues. So the next time you encounter a widow or orphan in your document, you’ll know exactly how to fix it.

Gulrukh Ch

About the Author: Gulrukh Ch

Gulrukh Chaudhary, an accomplished digital marketer and technology writer with a passion for exploring the frontiers of innovation. Armed with a Master's degree in Information Technology, Gulrukh seamlessly blends her technical prowess with her creative flair, resulting in captivating insights into the world of emerging technologies. Discover more about her on her LinkedIn profile.