How to Justify Text Without Spreading out the Last Words

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Justified text is commonly used in newspaper articles.

Depending on the program you're using to create your text document, you may find that justified text alignment causes the last lines of your paragraphs to get stretched out. Many word processing programs account for this problem and automatically apply left align text when there are too few words on a line to justify the text properly. If the program you're using is creating too much space between the last words in a document's paragraphs, there are steps you can take to fix the problem.


Step 1

Force a hard return when you end a paragraph. A hard return is accomplished by pressing the "Enter" button on your keyboard. If, however, you opt for a "soft return," the program won't recognize the line as the end of a paragraph and will justify the text. A soft return involves pressing "Shift + Enter." It is primarily used as a formatting tool when writing documents with short lines, such as poetry.


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To ensure you forced a hard return when writing the document, go to the end of the paragraph and press "Enter" on your keyboard. This will create an unnecessary space between paragraphs, but will fix the justification issue in all cases where a soft return was used instead of a hard return.


Step 2

Manually or automatically hyphenate words, as necessary, to keep the character and word spacing at a minimum. In Microsoft Word, users can automatically hyphenate documents by altering the options within the program. The location of the automatic hyphenation option varies depending on the version of Word you are using. In Microsoft Word versions 2007 and 2010, it is found by clicking on Page Layout and looking for the Page Setup options. In Microsoft Word 2003, it is located in the "Tools" menu under "Language."


Automatic hyphenation is also available in earlier versions of Microsoft Word and Word Perfect. Reference the Help menu in the program you're using if you need help with either automatic or manual hyphenation.

Step 3

Adjust the Compatibility Options in Microsoft Word by clicking on "Tools," "Options," and "Compatibility." Check the box next to "Do full justification like WordPerfect 6.x for Windows" to reduce the spacing between words in a justified document. This option addresses a key difference between Word and Word Perfect -- while Word expands the spacing between words when it justifies text, WordPerfect compresses it.