How to keep headings and body text together

If you’re already using Word Styles to format your documents, great! Here’s a trick that will help you get more out of Styles and improve the look and layout of your work.

By modifying Word styles, you can avoid leaving your headings hanging at the bottom of a page, like this:

Figure 1: A heading at the bottom of a page, disconnected from the body text that follows.
Figure 1: A heading at the bottom of a page, disconnected from the body text that follows.

Note, I’m using Word for Office 365. If you’re using a different version of Word, some of my screenshots may look different from what you have.

1. Highlight the heading.

2. Click the pop out button for Styles:

Figure 2: The Styles pane with the pop out button circled.
Figure 2: The Styles pane with the pop out button circled.

3. Select the heading style you’re modifying and click on the drop down box. Click Modify:

Figure 3: The style box with the ‘modify’ option highlighted.
Figure 3: The style box with the ‘modify’ option highlighted.

4. Click on the Format drop box and select Paragraph:

Figure 4: The Modify Style box.
Figure 4: The Modify Style box.

5. Select the Line and Page Breaks tab and check Keep with next. Click OK.

Figure 5: Paragraph box showing the Line and Page Breaks tab. The ‘Keep with next’ check box is ticked.
Figure 5: Paragraph box showing the Line and Page Breaks tab. The ‘Keep with next’ check box is ticked.

6. The heading will now stay with the body text.

Figure 6: The heading and body text are now on one page.

7. Do this for all your heading styles, including figure/table number headings.

There are many ways you can customise Styles to get the layout of your document looking the way you want. For example, you can change the amount of white space between the heading and the body text. Or you can insert a page break before a heading; this is useful for chapter headings. Have a look through the Modify Style box (figure 4) and experiment.

You can download a free PDF version of this guide.