No More Splitting

Here’s the scenario: you’re working on a table in MS Word and suddenly a row splits in two. That is, part on one page and part on the next page.

You’re looking this new development over, all the while thinking to yourself, “This just won’t do. The topic in each row really can’t be split apart.”

At this point you’re trying to come up with a solution. You need an efficient way to keep the row together.

What do you do?

I suppose you could add blank lines to the row just above the split and force Word to put it all together on the next page. I’ve seen more than one person use that tactic.

The drawbacks (there are always drawbacks to a move like that) include the “funny” way the row with the extra space looks. It’s just visibly much taller than the other rows in the table and has all that unnecessary white space.

Another problem will appear the moment you try to edit the table above the row with all the blank lines. Added lines above will push those blanks to the top of the next page. So, now you’re busy trying to remember to take them back out.

All around, it’s a bad plan.

Are you looking for a good plan?


Good, because today I’d like to offer you one.

Believe it or not, there’s a setting in MS Word that allows you to control this very situation.

The only trick here is to know where to find the right check box.

(Since the location of the check box varies based on the version of Word you’re running, I’ll need to give you a couple of sets of directions).

If you’re running Word 97, these directions are for you:

  • First place the cursor in the row you want to change.
  • Next you need to go to the Table menu, Cell Height and Width choice.
  • When the window opens, you’re looking for the Row tab.

  • In the middle of the tab you’re looking to uncheck the “Allow row to break across pages” check box.
  • If you’d like to also make changes for another row, then use the Previous Row and Next Row buttons to move through the table and make multiple changes at once.
  • I also had success when I highlighted multiple rows before going to the Table menu. That allowed me to change them with only one move.

  • At any rate, when you finish with the changes, click OK.

Time to move on to the instructions for newer versions of Word.

  • Again, begin with the cursor in the row you’d like to keep from splitting.
  • Now go to the Table menu, Table Properties choice.
  • As before, you’re looking for the Row tab.

  • Here, things are exactly the same. UncheckAllow row to break across pages” where appropriate.
  • The Previous and Next row buttons are the same too.
  • Click OK when you’re done.

Remember, uncheck the box to keep the row completely on one page and check the box to allow Word to split the row between pages.

And there you have it. Complete control over which rows Word splits and which it doesn’t.

If only control in the rest of life were that easy to obtain.

~ April