We’re going to look at wayward headings in this topic. As the title suggests, in Microsoft parlance, this means (or is termed) ‘Keep with Next’.
This small 3-word phrase, effectively, does what it says on the tin, it keeps the paragraph to which you apply it with the next one, i.e. it won’t let a page break come between them and separate them to the far-flung corners of the w…next page. I’m sure you’ve seen documents/pdf’s distributed where, sitting lonely at the bottom of the page is a heading, and the text that it heads, is on the next page…not ideal, but it happens if you let it.
The ‘Keep with Next’ option prevents that.

Using Keep With Next

But, you have to use it correctly, as if you set ‘Keep with next’ at the wrong place, then it can mess up your formatting and pagination.
‘Keep with Next’ is a simple enough setting, a mere ‘toggle option’: you click to toggle it on, and then you click to toggle it off; but, because Microsoft bury it away in some deep forgotten, or little known, dialog box, it’s easy to overlook.

How to Use Keep With Next

Due to its very nature, ‘Keep with Next’ is used mainly with Headings and at template level: this means you set the option in the template design, and then it will replicate through and be available to every document created from that template.
You can, and will, occasionally use it for paragraphs, but you probably wouldn’t want to set this to affect every style (keep with next is important for stylesclick here for styles). For example, with the 1-Click Book Creation template, all Headings 1-4 are set with ‘Keep with next’. This means all the headings in your books will be glued to the following paragraph, (the ‘Firstpara’ style), and you won’t ever see a heading at the bottom of your page (or, if you do, just check this setting)

When To Use Keep With Next

I’m guessing this is kind of self-explanatory, as I’ve mentioned it above. But, as with many things in Word, you can set it at the document level if there is an errant paragraph misbehaving; however, Microsoft will never give you a visual clue that this setting has been applied in the document, at a ‘character’ level almost.
The good news is, if you did decide to add one, it shouldn’t be too difficult to find, as there’ll be a gaping hole of white space where there shouldn’t be!


As it’s to do with paragraph formatting, Microsoft bury it in (no surprises here) the ‘Paragraph’ dialog box.
You can get to it via a number of ways, but it boils down to either as a character setting, or as a paragraph setting (remember we talked about the difference between character and paragraph styles before – click here?)
Again, as I mentioned, I would try and apply it only at the template or document level, i.e. it affects that style throughout the document, unless absolutely essential. It just makes it easier.

  1. Ensure your cursor is in the paragraph of the style you wish to change.
  2. Press Ctrl+Shift+S to bring up the ‘Apply Styles’ dialog box.

Microsoft Word Apply Styles Box

  1. Click on Modify:Modify Style Dialog in Word


  1. Click on Format

Modify Style Format Dropdown

  1. Click on Paragraph

Microsoft Word Paragraph Dialog

Keep With Next is in Line and Page Breaks

  1. Click on the Line and Page breaks tab, and there’s ‘Keep with Next’:

Paragraph Dialog - Line and page breaks tab

  1. Select/deselect as you wish.
  2. Click on Ok
  3. Click on Ok

Character Level

If you did want to apply ‘Keep with Next’ to just a single paragraph, then you can click on the Paragraph Settings switch: The paragraph dialog box will then show. Remember though, if you apply the setting this way, then it will only apply to the para that it is in, not to others of the same style.


Word Words: Wayward Headings – Keep with Next (pdf)