English
6700

Technical Editing & Production

Spring
2012

 

Widows and orphans

Longer discussion with pictures and tips

Widows and orphans ruin the aesthetics of text and should be avoided whenever possible. A widow is a heading or the first line of a paragraph at the end of page. An orphan is the last line of a paragraph at the top of a page. An other example of an orphan is having the last item in a bullet list at the top of a new page.

In a properly designed text, there should always be at least two lines of text after heading and two lines of a paragraph at the top of a page.

Because of the unnatural break they create, both interrupt the reader's eye as it flows across the page.

Do not have any widows or orphans in your document. Checking for widows and orphans are one of the last things to do before printing a final copy. Do not worry about them until the text is written and revised.

To fix widows, insert a hard page break.

To fix an orphan, do one of the following

 

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