Control Paragraph Spacing: MS Word

Dennis Faas's picture

Spacing affects the readability of a document. If you have long lines of text spanning the width of the page, your eye has to work to track all the way across it.

To make it easier to follow the lines across the page, you should increase the spacing between the lines (or shorten the lines). That's why teachers usually ask students to double-space reports.

As with all paragraph formatting, place the insertion point within the paragraph or highlight all or part of the paragraphs you want to format; then, do any of the following instructions.

Set Line Spacing using Menus:

  • Choose Format | Paragraph and make changes in the dialog box.
  • Right-click the paragraph and choose Paragraph from the shortcut menu..

Set Line Spacing with the Keyboard:

  • Single-spacing= Ctrl + 1
  • Double-spacing= Ctrl + 2
  • 1.5 Line spacing= Ctrl + 5
  • Space before (toggles on and off)= Ctrl + 0

The simplest way to change line spacing is to use shortcut keys. Line spacing within each paragraph comes in these choices:

  • 'Single spacing' includes the automatic 20 percent leading.
  • '1.5 line spacing leaves' an extra half-line of space between the lines of a paragraph.
  • 'Double spacing' allows an extra line of space between lines in a paragraph.
  • 'At least' sets the line spacing to a certain minimum, but if necessary, will expand to fit the largest item on the line.
  • 'Exactly' sets the spacing to an exact setting. You could use this if you wanted an actual single space minus the leading. Click 'Exactly' and then use the 'At spin box' to specify 12 pt.
  • Multiple spacing allows you to set triple spacing and even larger intervals. Click 'Multiple' and then use the 'At spin box' to specify the number of lines.
  • You can click the spin boxes to change these; choose either 'Space before the paragraph' or 'Space after the paragraph.'

As you can see, the dialog box allows you to control the line spacing of a paragraph in several ways. Go ahead and try it -- it's easy!

Visit Carol's web site to learn more tips like this one!

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