I love nice, neat, fully-justified text in documents (really, who doesn’t?). It’s one of the great advantages word processing has over the ancient typewriter. But it can introduce some problems into your documents when the spacing between words (or even within words) isn’t quite right. Calculating that extra spacing is apparently still a real challenge for Microsoft Word. Sometimes, however, we as users unwittingly introduce problems that make it even more of a challenge.
For instance, if you’ve been known to copy text from your old documents into your new ones, you’ve probably seen this happen:
What on earth is going on with that last line? You know there aren’t really a bunch of extra spaces between the words. What else could be causing this, though?
Before you resign yourself to setting all your paragraphs to be left-justified, let me show you a little tip that’ll save you the trouble.
The problem here is a sneaky little code at the end of that last line. It pops up most often when text is pasted into Word from other documents (usually WordPerfect).
But first, we need to do a little diagnostic work to confirm:
Easy, huh? Just turn on Show/Hide (the paragraph symbol in the Home tab of the Word Ribbon), select (with your mouse) the “end of line” symbol that looks like the return arrow on your Enter key, then hit the Enter key to put a true “end of paragraph” code.
Once you do that, the justification fixes itself.