How to Change Line and Paragraph Spacing in Word

Line and paragraph spacing in Word are some of the most common formatting options you use in Word to make long chunks of text easy to read. If you are just learning to prepare documents in Word, its worth knowing how to use line and paragraph spacing to make your content easy to read. In this post, we’ll tell you what you need to know about line and paragraph spacing and how best to use them.

Line spacing is the amount of space between lines of text in a paragraph while paragraph spacing is the amount of space between two paragraphs. Line spacing is usually measured in terms of lines or points. In Word 2010, the default line spacing is 1.15 while in Word 2013 it is set to 1.08. These default configurations can easily be altered to match your documentation requirements.

How to Change Line and Paragraph Spacing in Word

Word makes it very easy to change styles and it can be done depending on whether you want to change the line spacing for the entire document or just for some paragraphs of text.

How to Change the Line Spacing For an Entire Document

To change the line spacing for an entire document, you can make use of Quick Styles.

1. On the Home tab, in the Styles group, click Change Styles and then select Style set.

line spacing in word

2. The Style set drop down menu will display a nice collection of line spacing styles. Apply the different styles and preview how you document looks when you apply each style.

3. Select an option that best suits your document.

How to Change the Line Spacing For an Portion of the Document

1. Select the paragraphs of text for which you want to apply line spacing.

2. On the Home tab, in the Paragraph group, click the Line and Paragraph Spacing command.

line and paragraph spacing command

3. Hover the mouse pointer over the options in the drop down menu to see a live preview of the document and select an option that best fits your needs.

You can alternately click the tiny downward pointing arrow button at the bottom right corner of the Paragraph group, also called the Paragraph Dialog Box Launcher to display the Paragraph dialog box.

In the Paragraph dialog, you can select a few more options.

paragraph dialog box

Exactly: In this option sets the line spacing in points. If you want to apply this option to your text, make sure that the points are more than the font size of your text. If the font size of your text is 11 points, make sure the Exact line spacing is more than 11, say 15 or your text will appear crunched.

At least: This option will set the minimum line spacing that is required to fit the largest font in the line.

Multiple: In this option the line spacing is measured in lines. If you set the line spacing to 1.7, it will make the text spread out more than the single spacing option. If you select an option like 0.8, it will fit the lines closer to together, a little tighter than the single spacing option.

  • Tip: To space all lines evenly in a paragraph, use exact spacing and specify an amount of space that is large enough to fit the largest character or graphic in the line.

Paragraph Spacing in Word

By default, the paragraphs in Word are followed by a blank line and headings have extra space above them. And just as you format spacing between lines in your document, you can adjust spacing before and after paragraphs.

How to Change the Paragraph Spacing Before and After Selected Paragraphs

To change the paragraph spacing for an entire document:

1. Select the paragraph before or after which you want to change the spacing.

2. On the Page Layout tab, in the Paragraph group, in the Spacing text box, click the arrow in the Before or After boxes and enter the amount of space you want.

paragraph spacing

You can also open the Paragraph dialog box to apply these changes.

After you’ve made the necessary formatting changes, you can go to the Quick Styles options and select Set as Default to save all the formatting changes you applied. This will ensure that the same formatting is applied to new documents you create.

How to Remove Paragraph Spacing Between Two Paragraphs

By default, Word automatically adds a line space when you start a new paragraph. You may have tried removing the extra space by hitting the Backspace key to no avail. If you want to remove the paragraph spacing between two paragraphs, here’s what you need to do:

1. Place the insertion point at the end of the paragraph. Ensure that the extra space is displayed after the paragraph.

2. On the Home tab, in the Paragraph group, click the Line and paragraph spacing button and from the drop-down list, select Remove Space After Paragraph.

remove space after paragraph

To remove paragraph spacing between all paragraphs:

1. On the Home tab, in the Paragraph group, click the Paragraph Dialog Box Launcher.

paragraph dialog box launcher

2. In the Paragraph dialog box, in the Spacing section, check the Don’t add space between paragraphs of the same style check box and click OK.

paragraph dialog box

Note: This change will reflect only future paragraphs added to the document. If you want to make changes to existing paragraphs, you must select the paragraphs in question and then follow the above steps.

To remove paragraph spacing in all Word documents:

1. On the Home tab, in the Paragraph group, click the Paragraph Dialog Box Launcher.

2. In the Paragraph dialog box, in the Spacing section, check the Don’t add space between paragraphs of the same style check box.

3. Click Set as Default and then click OK.

Now that you know how to add line and paragraph spacing in Word, you can take advantage of the different styles of spacing to make your content easily readable.

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