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How to Turn Off Hyphenation in InDesign

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InDesign lets you choose whether or not to hyphenate words in your document. This option is a paragraph-wide setting. If you’re using left-justified text, you can have decent text flow without any hyphenation, since InDesign can break a line between words.

If you are using fully-justified text—where there is a straight edge on both sides of the text column—hyphenation can help alleviate large chunks of white space between words. In this quick tutorial, you'll learn how to turn on hyphenation in InDesign. Or if you prefer otherwise, you'll also learn to turn off hyphenation in InDesign.

paragraph of text with no hyphenation and too much space between wordsparagraph of text with no hyphenation and too much space between wordsparagraph of text with no hyphenation and too much space between words
These paragraphs of fully-justified text have lots of extra white space between words because there is no hyphenation.

What You'll Learn in This Hyphenate Text in InDesign Tutorial

  • How to turn on hyphenation in InDesign in a paragraph
  • How to turn off hyphenation in InDesign
  • How to adjust the hyphenation settings to further tweak the text
  • How to preview the hyphenation adjustments

1. How to Turn on Hyphenation in InDesign

Step 1

Select the paragraph—or multiple paragraphs—that you want to affect. If you just want one paragraph, you can simply put your cursor somewhere in that paragraph. If you want to select two contiguous paragraphs, just make sure you select some text in each. Most paragraph settings work this way in InDesign.

multiple paragraphs of text with part of each highlightedmultiple paragraphs of text with part of each highlightedmultiple paragraphs of text with part of each highlighted

Step 2

Open the Paragraph panel. If it’s not open, go up to the Window menu and choose Type & Tables > Paragraph.

selecting the paragraph panel from InDesign's Window menu via the Type & Tables submenuselecting the paragraph panel from InDesign's Window menu via the Type & Tables submenuselecting the paragraph panel from InDesign's Window menu via the Type & Tables submenu

Step 3

If it’s not already, select the Hyphenate checkbox at the bottom of the panel to turn hyphenation on for your selected paragraph(s). You’ll see the text reflow and create a better-balanced paragraph. Additionally, you can turn off hyphenation in InDesign in this same menu.

the paragraph panel with hyphenation checkbox selectedthe paragraph panel with hyphenation checkbox selectedthe paragraph panel with hyphenation checkbox selected

2. How to Adjust the Hyphenation Settings in InDesign

The Hyphenate checkbox only gives you the option of off or on, but sometimes you need more granular control over the hyphenation settings in your paragraphs.

Step 1

Open the Paragraph panel, if it’s not already.

Step 2

Click on the Paragraph panel menu in the upper-right corner of the panel and choose Hyphenation.

the paragraph panel menu with hyphenation menu selectedthe paragraph panel menu with hyphenation menu selectedthe paragraph panel menu with hyphenation menu selected

Step 3

In the Hyphenation Settings dialog box, you’ll see the same Hyphenate checkbox from the main panel. Keep it selected to be able to access a few extra controls.

the hyphenation settings dialog box, with hyphenation checkbox selectedthe hyphenation settings dialog box, with hyphenation checkbox selectedthe hyphenation settings dialog box, with hyphenation checkbox selected

Step 4

The slider near the bottom lets you focus the text to have better spacing (to the left on the slider) or fewer hyphens (to the right). Move the slider towards one end or keep a happy balance with it set in the center.

the hyphenation slider in the settings panel to set balance between spacing and hyphenationthe hyphenation slider in the settings panel to set balance between spacing and hyphenationthe hyphenation slider in the settings panel to set balance between spacing and hyphenation

Step 5

With the Preview option checked, you can see how the slider affects your selected text.

setting the hyphenation slider to achieve better hyphenation balancesetting the hyphenation slider to achieve better hyphenation balancesetting the hyphenation slider to achieve better hyphenation balance

Go Beyond and Explore More InDesign Resources

You know the basics of how to turn on and how to turn off hyphenation in InDesign. There are several more options in the Hyphenation controls, but those are for a more advanced tutorial. Feel free to test them out on sample text with different fonts and sizes.

For the most part, using the defaults and the slider will do just fine. Using left-justified text will almost always give you better text flow, but when you need fully-justified columns, it’s nice to know InDesign gives you control over the hyphenation.

If you're looking to get started with a magazine layout like this one, there are plenty of InDesign templates to choose from at Envato Elements. And check out other tutorials to help you improve your InDesign skills. Also, visit the Envato Tuts+ YouTube channel to watch useful videos like this one:

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