MacMost Now 831: Widow and Orphan Lines In Pages

You can tell Pages to prevent single lines from appearing at the top and bottom of pages. You can also keep entire paragraphs together on a page, or with other paragraphs. You can even force a paragraph to start on a new page. These options can all be found in the Text Inspector under the More category.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: MacMost Now 831: Widow and Orphan Lines In Pages.

Hi this is Gary with MacMost Now. On today's episode let's talk about widow and orphan lines in Pages.

So what is a widow and what's an orphan line? A widow line is like this. You are in Pages and you've got a paragraph here, this is a whole paragraph, and the last bit of text goes to the next page. Likewise an orphan line is kind of the opposite of that. It is when you have a single line of a paragraph on one page and the rest of the paragraph on the other.

You can get rid of these in Pages by simply going into the Inspector, go into the Text Inspector, and using the prevent widow and orphan lines checkbox. You can do that for the entire document by selecting All or simple putting your cursor in one paragraph and selecting that one paragraph that way. So if I were to click on this you can see what it does here. It prevents it by taking one more line from here and dropping it down to the next page so that this paragraph doesn't have just one line dangling it has two. So it divides it up.

Likewise if I were to create an orphan like this and put the cursor in this paragraph then turn on Prevent wide and orphan lines you can see that it pushes that line down to the next page here. So it prevents that awkward break.

Now by default this is on so if I select All I can select it and check and now this will always make sure that there is no widow or orphan lines on a page.

Let's say you want more control. There is some other options here. For instance, you can set a paragraph to always start on the next page. So say you have a small paragraph here and this starts a new point and you really want this to always start on a new page here you can put the cursor in that paragraph and select Paragraph starts on a new page. Now now matter what text is inserted, even if you put a bunch of blank line here, you can see that it pushes that paragraph to start on the following page.

You can also set it to make sure that paragraphs stick together. So for instance you have this paragraph here that starts on this page, jumps to this one and then this next paragraph here. If I want to make sure that this paragraph and this paragraph are always on the same page I put my cursor in this paragraph and check off Keep with the following paragraph. So that makes sure that the start of this paragraph is on the same page as the start of this paragraph no matter how it falls in the layout.

So this last option here Keep lines together (actually the first option) makes sure that if you select a paragraph and you turn on Keep lines together that paragraph will always only appear on one page. So in this case it will always jump to the next page. You can basically select your entire document and set that and ensure that paragraph breaks will always fall on page breaks, even if it has to push the paragraph to the next page. You can see here it left a pretty large space at the end to make sure that this paragraph is always on the next page.

So this is all about making your Pages documents look nicer. It will look nicer if you avoid widow and orphan lines and sometimes if you keep paragraphs together on a Page and sometimes multiple paragraphs together with each other on a page. You can find out a lot about stuff like this in my book My Pages. For instance on page 66 I've got a section on widow and orphan lines and tons of other useful tips and tricks and a complete guide to using Pages as a word processor and a page layout program.

Check it out.

Until next time this is Gary with MacMost Now.

Comments: One Response to “MacMost Now 831: Widow and Orphan Lines In Pages”

    6 years ago

    Hi Gary.
    I don’t use Pages that often but I decided to buy your ‘My Pages’ book on my iPad, as a way of supporting you and all you do for us. It’s great to be able to have your book open on the iPad whilst working on a Pages document on my Mac. The Widow and Orphans issue has always annoyed me, I had no idea there was a way round the problem. Your instructions are very easy to follow as always – thanks again. Al

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