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No matter what type of document you’re writing, there are certain things you should try to avoid. This includes dangling lines at the beginning or end of the page. In Google Docs, you can easily keep lines of text together.

Those stragglers that end up away from the rest of the text are referred to as widow and orphan lines. This includes the end of a paragraph that drops to the next page and the beginning of a paragraph left at the bottom of a page. Here’s how to prevent lonely lines of text with the line spacing features in Google Docs.

Keep with Next

Along with lines of text within paragraphs, a common problem is headings that are left without their paragraphs. You might type a heading, drop to the next line to start your paragraph, and end up on the next page. This leaves your heading all alone at the end of the previous page.

Select the heading and the text that you want to keep together by dragging your cursor through it.

Click either the Line Spacing button in the toolbar or go to Format > Line Spacing from the menu. Then, select “Keep with Next” to place a check mark next to it.

Click Line Spacing, Keep With Next

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And there you go! Wherever you move that heading, whether it’s up or down, the paragraph should stick with it.

Keep With Next Before and After in Google Docs

Tip: Remember this helpful setting if you work with columns in Google Docs as well.

Keep Lines Together

Depending on the lengths of the sentences of your paragraph, you could easily end up cutting your paragraph in half. If it’s a super-long paragraph, you might be fine with it. But if not, you can keep those lines together.

Select the paragraph that you want to make sure stays together.

Click either the Line Spacing button in the toolbar or go to Format > Line Spacing from the menu. Then, check “Keep Lines Together.”

Click Line Spacing, Keep Lines Together

Now, move your paragraph up or down to whichever page you want it to call home, and it should all stay together.

Keep Lines Together Before and After in Google Docs

Prevent Single Lines

The final setting is most specific to widow and orphan lines. This keeps those lonely lines with the rest of the paragraph family.

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Select the text that you want to keep together, which is most likely an entire paragraph.

Next, click either the Line Spacing button in the toolbar or go to Format > Line Spacing from the menu. Then, select “Prevent Single Lines.”

Click Line Spacing, Prevent Single Lines

Similar to the Keep Lines Together option, this setting helps to prevent lonely lines of text at the top and the bottom of a page.

Prevent Single Lines Before and After in Google Docs

Tip: You can use all three settings together, too. Just make sure that each one is checked in the Line Spacing menu and you’re set.

To make your document setup process simpler, consider changing your default format settings in Google Docs.

Sandy Writtenhouse Sandy Writtenhouse
With her B.S. in Information Technology, Sandy worked for many years in the IT industry as a Project Manager, Department Manager, and PMO Lead. She learned how technology can enrich both professional and personal lives by using the right tools. And, she has shared those suggestions and how-tos on many websites over time. With thousands of articles under her belt, Sandy strives to help others use technology to their advantage.
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