How to adjust line spacing in Microsoft Word?

Occasional Contributor

There are several ways to adjust line spacing in Microsoft Word. Today’s tutorial explains the basic method using the ribbon and a more advanced method using the Paragraph dialog box. 

 

In the end, we will quickly single-space an entire document from the Paragraph dialog box. I’ll be using Word for Microsoft 365. The steps are the same in Word 2019 and Word 2016 and similar for Word 2013 and Word 2010. 

 

However, your interface may look slightly different in those older versions of the software. To begin the basic method, select the Home tab in the ribbon. Although not necessary, I highly suggest selecting the Show/Hide button in the Paragraph group to show paragraph break symbols and other formatting that may affect line spacing. Next select the text with the line spacing that needs to be changed. Then, select the Line and Paragraph Spacing button in the Paragraph group. From there, select an option from the drop-down menu: The numbers 1.0 through 3.0 add space between lines. Add Space Before Paragraph and Remove Space After Paragraph adjust the spacing above and below paragraphs but does not change the spacing within paragraphs. These three options are based on your current font size with 1.0 being the equivalent of single-spacing. 

 

Your changes will be applied immediately. Note that you can apply the individual line spacing, which is the numbers 1.0 through 3.0, and the paragraph spacing to the same text to further customize your results. If you selected the Show/Hide button earlier, you can select it again to rehide paragraph symbols and another formatting. To begin the advanced method, again select the Home tab in the ribbon. And then select the Show/Hide button in the Paragraph group if you want to see paragraph break symbols and another formatting that may affect line spacing. Then, select the text with the line spacing that needs to be changed. 

 

Note that when using this method, PC users can press Ctrl + A to select the entire document if all the line spacing needs to be changed. However, this includes items you may not want to alter, including headings, tables, table titles, figure captions, tables of contents, and reference lists. Now, select the dialog box launcher in the Paragraph group. And then, make the necessary changes in the Spacing section of the Paragraph dialog box: The Before and After boxes represent the spaces above and below paragraphs measured in points where one point equals 1/72 of an inch tall. Use the increment arrows to choose a whole number or enter a number with a decimal directly into the box. The Line spacing drop-down menu offers six options: Single creates single-spacing based on your current font size. 1.5 Lines creates a space and a half as large as your current font size. 

 

Double creates double-spacing based on your current font size. At Least determines the minimum amount of space between lines based on the number of points entered in the At box. Exactly creates an exact space between lines based on the number of points entered in the At box. And Multiple creates spacing multiplied by the number entered in the At box. For example, if you enter three in the At box, your spacing will be three times as large as your current single-spacing. The final option is "Don’t add space between paragraphs of the same style." For many users, this will remove spaces between all paragraphs because general documents commonly have only one paragraph style. Note that the Preview box will update as you make adjustments in the Spacing section. Select the OK button to close the Paragraph dialog box. 

 

If you selected the Show/Hide button earlier, you can select it again to hide paragraph symbols and other formatting. One of the most frequent questions I receive is how to single-space an entire document. So today we’re going to walk through the steps on how to do that using the Paragraph dialog box, which we used in the previous section. To begin, select the Home tab in the ribbon. Then, select the entire document. Note that PC users can press Ctrl + A to make the selection. 

 

Then, select the dialog box launcher in the Paragraph group. When the Paragraph dialog box appears, enter zero in the Before box in the Spacing section. And zero in the After box. Then, select Single in the Line spacing drop-down menu. Finally, select the OK button. The companion blog post for this video listing all the steps we just performed appears on erinwrightwriting.com, which is linked below. Feel free to leave me a comment if there’s a specific topic related to Microsoft Word or Adobe Acrobat that you would like me to talk about in the future. 

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