[Tex/LaTex] How to make a pair of words stick together in line breaks


How can I make a pair of words stick together in line breaks? For example, "MS Access". I don't want a line break in the middle. But, I'd like to set this up once, not at every occurrence of that word pair.

edit: Check out Sveinung's answer for two possible problems – overfull line, and hyphenation. For sure, I don't want that.

Best Answer

The correct answer may be to put the two word in an \mbox{keep together}. Then you avoid hyphenation, but not overfull lines.

You may define a macro to help you save some time when writing:


The flip side is that macros eat spaces. Therefore, in you text, you have to write \MSaccess{} to avoid that a space following the macros disappears. You may try to load the package xspace, and define the command as:


Unfortunately, there are situations where xspace does not work, and it may be better to define the command using the TeX-command def:


Then, you can write \MSA/ (notice the slash), and LaTeX will not eat a following space. Unfortunately, such commands may be awkward to type keyboards other than US-English.

If you use small caps in your macro, be sure that the font you use has real small caps, and of course, small caps has to be letterspaced (see Bringhurst, The Elements of Typographic Style). Actually, also the MS should be letterspaced according to Bringhurst.

I agree with Anon in his answer: Typographically a line break between MS and Access looks better than a sloppy paragraph or an overfull line (a line sticking out in the right margin). Even worse

will be that `Ac-
cess` is hyphenated.

I suggest that you write your article, and when your are finished, as the last touch up when proof reading, you check the line breaks to see if you have places where there is a line break between MS and Access (or Access is hyphenated) and then put the words in an \mbox{MS Access}.

This MWE demonstrates some of the differences:


\newcommand{\MSaccess}{\textsc{MS}~Access} % NB! \textsc has no effect


Here is a text which only purpose is to demonstrate that
\MSaccess without \emph{xspace} eats spaces.

Here is the text which only purpose is to demonstrate the wonders 
\emph{xspace} does for \MSaccessx and that \emph{xspace} does not eat spaces. But look here 
«\MSaccessx», and how we get a space before the nice, French citation mark (NB! 
\emph{xspace} may be configured to avoid this).

And here is the eminent `def`-macro that does not eat any spaces, as I state,
\MSA/ is OK, and does not fail because of strange punctuation, «\MSA/».


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