Inconsistent number of lines on document pages.

Copper Contributor

I sent in a Word document to a printer for proof copies. When I got them, the pages had an inconsistent number of lines.  Some pages were 27 lines long, while others were 28 and 29 lines long. There are no formatting commands between these lines, nor are there page break commands. Word just decided to stop on that page early and move to the next. 
Microsoft help couldn't figure it out.
This is my ninth novel. I have used Word for the last eight. This is the first time I have had a line problem. 
Heere is a screenshot of the problem.
Screenshot 2024-02-20 131846.png

9 Replies
I meant to say I only noticed this problem when I got the print book back. It is not the fault of the printing house. The docx file has the errors.

@Richard_Skorupski See:


If you cannot get it sorted out, upload a copy of the document so that we can take a look at the issue.



Thank you. It was a fight to get Word not to do what it wanted to do. However, following your instructions, I got the line length consistent.

This default "widows and orphans" setting must be something now or something in 365. I didn't have that trouble with MS Office 2016.
Your link was just the information I needed to fix my novel. I am going to save the link to my "nuts and bolts" bookmark.

Again, Doug, thank you for the help.


Richard Skorupski - Author

Widow and orphan default setting has been there since at least Word 97.
Hmmmm... I wonder why it hasn't given me trouble in the past.
“Curiouser and curiouser!” Cried Alice
Nonetheless, thank you for the help. The final fix was to set the vertical page to justified. Of course, I will now need to go back and reset each chapter that ends with a short page.
A small price to pay to fix the manuscript.
So, how do I turn it off? I unclick it in paragraph settings and tell it to set that as a default. It asks me if I want the default for this document or for all documents. I have tried "this document only" and "all documents".
It keeps coming back! I go forward one page and go back to the same spot, and the Widows and Orphans box is dark (highlighted) again!
Is there a way to kill this setting throughout the document and keep it killed? I feel like I'm in a Sci-Fi movie with an evil thing that can't be killed.

@Richard_Skorupski Modify the Paragraph Formatting in the Style by setting the required option and then before dismissing the Modify Style button, select the "New documents based on this template" option.

Setting a new style did the trick. Thank you! I think we licked it this time!


Styles are one of the magic keys to using MS Word!