About text alignment and spacing

Many factors determine how text is positioned. Margins (margin: The blank space outside the printing area on a page.) determine the distance from the edge for all the text on a page, while paragraph indentation and alignment determine how paragraphs fit between the margins. You can also determine how much space occurs between lines, and before and after paragraphs.

ShowPositioning and aligning text

Margins determine the overall width of the main text area — in other words, the space between the text and the edge of the page.

Indentation determines the distance of the paragraph from either the left or right margins. Within margins, you can increase or decrease the indentation of a paragraph or group of paragraphs. You can also create a negative indent (also known as an outdent), which pulls the paragraph out toward the left margin. You can also create a hanging indent, in which the first line of the paragraph is not indented, but subsequent lines are.
Paragraph indents and page margins

Callout 1 Page margins

Callout 2 Paragraph indents

Horizontal alignment determines the appearance and orientation of the edges of the paragraph: left-aligned, right-aligned, centered, or justified (justify: To adjust horizontal spacing so that text is aligned evenly along both the left and right margins. Justifying text creates a smooth edge on both sides.). For example, in a left-aligned paragraph (the most common alignment), the left edge of the paragraph is flush with the left margin.

Vertical alignment determines the position of the paragraph relative to the top and bottom margins. This is useful, for example, when you’re creating a title page, because you can position text precisely at the top, bottom, or center of the page, or you can vertically justify the paragraphs so that they’re spaced evenly down the page.

ShowExamples of paragraph indentation

Text with a first-line indent

Text with a first-line indent

Text with a hanging indent

Text with a hanging indent

Text with a negative indent

Text with a negative indent

ShowSpacing between lines or paragraphs

Line spacing (line spacing: The amount of space from the bottom of one line of text to the bottom of the next line. Microsoft Word adjusts the line spacing to accommodate the largest font or the tallest graphic in that line.) determines the amount of vertical space between lines of text in a paragraph. By default, lines are single-spaced, meaning that the spacing accommodates the largest font (font: A graphic design applied to all numerals, symbols, and alphabetic characters. Also called type or typeface. Arial and Courier New are examples of fonts. Fonts usually come in different sizes, such as 10 point, and various styles, such as bold.) in that line, plus a small amount of extra space.

Paragraph spacing determines the amount of space above or below a paragraph.

If a line contains a large text character, graphic, or formula, Microsoft Word increases the spacing for that line. To space all lines evenly, use exact spacing, and specify an amount of space that is large enough to fit the largest character or graphic in the line. If items appear cut off, increase the amount of spacing.

ShowTypes of line spacing

Single

Accommodates the largest font (font: A graphic design applied to all numerals, symbols, and alphabetic characters. Also called type or typeface. Arial and Courier New are examples of fonts. Fonts usually come in different sizes, such as 10 point, and various styles, such as bold.) in that line, plus a small amount of extra space. The amount of extra space varies depending on the font used.

1.5 lines

One-and-one-half times that of single line spacing.

Double

Twice that of single line spacing.

At least

Minimum line spacing that is needed to fit the largest font or graphic on the line.

Exactly

Fixed line spacing that Microsoft Word does not adjust.

Multiple

Line spacing that is increased or decreased by a percentage that you specify. For example, setting line spacing to 1.2 will increase the space by 20 percent.

 
 
Applies to:
Word 2003