How to Make Pretty Blanks in Word

The Problem

If you ever work with Microsoft Word, you have probably needed to insert a blank line or a block of text in a filled-in blank. For example, maybe you want a blank like this:         . Or maybe you want a blank with text in it,      like this     . If you just try turning on underlining and typing a lot of spaces, you don’t get any underlining at all. There’s a right way to work around this that always works, and a wrong way that often results in unprofessional-looking documents. This post will show you the right way.

What many people do is the wrong way around this: they use a combination of underlining and underscore characters, so they end up with something ugly ____like this____, or even worse, ____like this____. The broken line looks unprofessional. The doubling up is just awful.

The Solution

To insert pretty blanks in Word, you can insert a non-breaking space. In Windows, you can do this by pressing Ctrl + Shift + space. For Mac, use Option + space.

An Example

Say you want to type this:   Hello  . The exact key sequence (in Windows) would go like this: Ctrl + U (to start underlining), Ctrl + Shift + spaceCtrl + Shift + space, H, e, l, l, oCtrl + Shift + spaceCtrl + Shift + spaceCtrl + U.

More Uses


This is also very valuable for preventing awkward line breaks. For example, in legal writing, you usually want to keep the section symbol (§) with the following text, so you can put a non-breaking space between the symbol and the next character.

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