Adjust the line spacing between text or paragraphs

Line spacing determines the amount of vertical space between the lines of text in a paragraph. Paragraph spacing determines the amount of space above or below a paragraph.

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Line spacing in Word 2010

In Microsoft Word 2010, the default spacing for most Quick Style sets is 1.15 line spacing and 10 points after each paragraph. The default spacing in Office Word 2003 documents is 1.0 between lines and no blank line between paragraphs.

Line spacing in different versions

Callout 1 1.0 line spacing and no space between paragraphs
Callout 2 1.15 line spacing and 10 points after a paragraph

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Change the line spacing

The easiest way to change the line spacing for an entire document is to apply a Quick Style set that uses the spacing that you want. If you want to change the line spacing for a portion of the document, you can select the paragraphs and change their line spacing settings.

Use a style set to change line spacing for an entire document

  1. On the Home tab, in the Styles group, click Change Styles.
  2. Point to Style Set, and point to the various style sets. Using the live preview, notice how the line spacing changes from one style set to the next.

For example, the Traditional and Word 2003 style sets use single-spacing. The Manuscript style set uses double spacing.

  1. When you see spacing that you like, click the name of the style set.

Change the line spacing in a portion of the document

  1. Select the paragraphs for which you want to change the line spacing.
  2. On the Home tab, in the Paragraph group, click Line Spacing.

Line Spacing on the Home tab

  1. Do one of the following:
  • Click the number of line spaces that you want.

For example, click 1.0 to single-space with the spacing that is used in earlier versions of Word. Click 2.0 to double-space the selected paragraph. Click 1.15 to single-space with the spacing that is used in Word 2010.

  • Click Line Spacing Options, and then select the options that you want under Spacing. See the following list of available options for more information.

Line spacing options

Single    This option 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 that is used.

1.5 lines    This option is one-and-one-half times that of single line spacing.

Double    This option is twice that of single line spacing.

At least    This option sets the minimum line spacing that is needed to fit the largest font or graphic on the line.

Exactly    This option sets fixed line spacing, expressed in points. For example, if the text is in a 10-point font, you can specify 12 points as the line spacing.

Multiple    This option sets line spacing that can be expressed in numbers greater than 1. For example, setting line spacing to 1.15 will increase the space by 15 percent, and setting line spacing to 3 increases the space by 300 percent (triple spacing).

 Note   If a line contains a large text character, graphic, or formula, Word increases the spacing for that line. To space all lines evenly within 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. If items appear cut off, increase the amount of spacing.

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Change the spacing before or after paragraphs

The easiest way to change the spacing between paragraphs for an entire document is to apply a Quick Style set that uses the spacing that you want. If you want to change the spacing between paragraphs for a portion of the document, you can select the paragraphs and change their spacing-before and spacing-after settings.

Use a style set to change paragraph spacing for an entire document

  1. On the Home tab, in the Styles group, click Change Styles.

Office 14 Ribbon

  1. Point to Style Set, and point to the various style sets. Using the live preview, notice how the line spacing changes from one style set to the next.

For example, the Word 2003 style set inserts no extra space between paragraphs and a small amount of space above headings. The Word 2010 style set adds 10 points after a Normal paragraph and 24 points before a heading paragraph.

  1. When you see spacing that you like, click the name of the style set.

Use the paragraph spacing options to change the spacing

After you apply a style set, you can customize the spacing by using the new paragraph spacing options. When you click one of these options, it overrides the line and spacing settings of the style set.

  1. On the Home tab, in the Styles group, click Change Styles.

Styles group

  1. Point to Paragraph Spacing, and then click the option that you want.

Paragraph spacing options

The spacing listed in this table is based on Calibri, 11-point text.

Option Space after the paragraph Line spacing in the paragraph
No Paragraph Space 0 1
Compact 4 1
Tight 6 1.15
Open 10 1.15
Relaxed 6 1.5
Double 8 2

Change the spacing before and after selected paragraphs

By default, paragraphs are followed by a blank line, and headings have extra space above them.

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

Office 14 Ribbon

  1. On the Page Layout tab, in the Paragraph group, under Spacing, click the arrow next to Before or After and enter the amount of space that you want.

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Use Word 2003 spacing

The quickest way to apply Word 2003-style spacing to your document is to apply the Word 2003 style set.

 Important    If you apply the Word 2003 style set, you won’t be able to access some other features, such as themes. If you want to continue to use themes and other features, change the line spacing and paragraph spacing settings individually.

  1. On the Home tab, in the Styles group, click Change Styles.

Office 14 Ribbon

  1. Point to Style Set, and click Word 2003.

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Set the default to single-spacing for all new documents

  1. On the Home tab, in the Styles group, click Change Styles.

Office 14 Ribbon

  1. Point to Style Set, and click Word 2003.
  2. In the Styles group, click Change Styles, and then click Set as Default.

 Note   If you try using another style set in your document and you want to return to your custom default setting, click Change Styles in the Styles group, point to Style Sets, and then click Reset to Quick Styles from Template.

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Applies to:
Word 2010