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Microsoft Word Tips: Adjusting Paragraph Spacing
The space between paragraphs is important for professional formatting. Some style guides will even specify the paragraph spacing to use in a document. But how does this work in Microsoft Word?
Paragraph Spacing Basics
Paragraph spacing refers to the space between paragraphs in a document. And while you could add a manual blank line to divide paragraphs by hitting “Enter” on your keyboard, it is much easier and neater to let the formatting options in Microsoft Word do this for you!
The quickest way to do this is via the Paragraph section of the Home tab on the ribbon:
Select the text you want to format
Choose Add Space Before Paragraph or Add Space After Paragraph
This will add a default space in the place selected. If the text has already been formatted, you will instead have the option to Remove Space Before Paragraph or Remove Space After Paragraph.
Custom Paragraph Spacing
If you want more control over the spacing in your document, you have two main options. The first is to open the Paragraph menu. You can do this via the Paragraph section of the Home tab:
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Open the Line and Paragraph Spacing dropdown menu
In the window that opens, go to the Spacing section
Adjust the values in the Before and After fields as required
Your second option is to use the Layout tab on the main ribbon. To do this:
Go to Layout and find the Paragraph section
Adjust the values in the Before and After fields as required
Typically, for text with a font size of 10-12 pts, you will want a spacing value between 6-8 pts.
An Alternative Approach
Finally, there is another way to control spacing in Microsoft Word. This is accessed via the Design tab on the main ribbon. Here, in the Document Formatting section, you’ll find a Paragraph Spacing dropdown menu with pre-set options to adjust the spacing in your document.
However, this applies spacing throughout your entire document and also controls line spacing. It therefore offers much less customization than the methods described above.
Word 2022: Line And Paragraph Spacing
As you design your document and make formatting decisions, you will need to consider line and paragraph spacing. You can increase spacing to improve readability and reduce it to fit more text on the page.
Optional: Download our practice document.
Watch the video below to learn how to fine tune line and paragraph spacing in your documents.
About line spacing
Line spacing is the space between each line in a paragraph. Word allows you to customize the line spacing to be single spaced (one line high), double spaced (two lines high), or any other amount you want. The default spacing in Word is 1.08 lines, which is slightly larger than single spaced.
In the images below, you can compare different types of line spacing. From left to right, these images show default line spacing, single spacing, and double spacing.
Line spacing is also known as leading (pronounced to rhyme with wedding).
To format line spacing
Select the text you want to format.
The line spacing will change in the document.
Fine tuning line spacing
Your line spacing options aren’t limited to the ones in the Line and Paragraph Spacing menu. To adjust spacing with more precision, select Line Spacing Options from the menu to access the Paragraph dialog box. You’ll then have a few additional options you can use to customize spacing.
Exactly:When you choose this option, the line spacing is measured in points, just like font size. For example, if you’re using 12-point text, you could use 15-point spacing.
At least: Like the the Exactly option, this lets you choose how many points of spacing you want. However, if you have different sizes of text on the same line, the spacing will expand to fit the larger text.
Multiple: This option lets you type the number of lines of spacing you want. For example, choosing Multiple and changing the spacing to 1.2 will make the text slightly more spread out than single-spaced text. If you want the lines to be closer together, you can choose a smaller value, like 0.9.
Just as you can format spacing between lines in your document, you can adjust spacing before and after paragraphs. This is useful for separating paragraphs, headings, and subheadings.
To format paragraph spacing:
In our example, we’ll increase the space before each paragraph to separate them a bit more. This will make it a little easier to read.
Select the paragraph or paragraphs you want to format.
The paragraph spacing will change in the document.
From the drop-down menu, you can also select Line Spacing Options to open the Paragraph dialog box. From here, you can control how much space there is before and after the paragraph.
You can use Word’s convenient Set as Default feature to save all of the formatting changes you’ve made and automatically apply them to new documents. To learn how to do this, read our article on Changing Your Default Settings in Word.
Open our practice document.
Select the the date and the address block. This starts with April 13, 2016, and ends with Trenton, NJ 08601.
Change the spacing before the paragraph to 12 pt and the spacing after the paragraph to 30 pt.
Select the body of the letter. This starts with I am exceedingly and ends with your consideration.
Change the line spacing to 1.15.
When you’re finished, your page should look like this:
Formatting Paragraphs In Microsoft Word
Microsoft Word: Formatting Paragraphs
A paragraph in Word is any text that ends with a hard return. You insert a hard return anytime you press the Enter key. Paragraph formatting lets you control the appearance if individual paragraphs. For example, you can change the alignment of text from left to center or the spacing between lines form single to double. You can indent paragraphs, number them, or add borders and shading to them.
Paragraph formatting is applied to an entire paragraph. All formatting for a paragraph is stored in the paragraph mark and carried to the next paragraph when you press the Enter key. You can copy paragraph formats from paragraph to paragraph and view formats through task panes.
Paragraph alignment determines how the lines in a paragraph appear in relation to the left and right margins. The margin is the blank space between the edge of the paper and where the text.
The easiest way to change paragraph alignment is to use the alignment buttons on the Formatting toolbar.
You can also use keyboard shortcuts. Ctrl+L= Left Align; Ctrl+R= Right Align; Ctrl+E= Center; Ctrl+J= Justify.
Line and Paragraph Spacing
Line space is the amount of vertical space between lines of text in a paragraph. Line spacing is typically based on the height of the characters, but you can change it to a specific value. For example, some paragraphs may be single spaced and some double-spaced. Single-spacing is Word’s default setting.
Paragraph space is the amount of space above or below a paragraph. Instead of pressing Enter multiple times to increase space between paragraphs, you can set a specific amount of space before or after paragraphs.
With the dialog box still open, select
from the line spacing drop down menu. Notice the change in the preview pane.
drop-down list. In the
box, key 1.25 (highlight the text in the box and type over it). Press
to see the change in the preview pane.
Changing Paragraph Spacing
You use the Paragraph dialog box to set the space between paragraphs. Paragraph spacing is set in points. If a document has 12-point text, then one line space equals 12-points, one-half line space equals 6-points, double-spacing equals 24-points.
An indent increases the distance between the side of a paragraph and the left or right margin. Indented paragraphs appear to have different margin settings. Word provides a variety of indents to emphasize paragraphs in a document.
Next page: Tabs
Where Is The Paragraph Spacing In Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2022, 2022 And 365
Where is the Paragraph Spacing in Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019 and 365
in which the “Paragraph Spacing” is at the bottom obviously. Point to the “Paragraph Spacing” item in the menu, and a Built-In dialog will appear, where you can edit, set and custom Paragraph Spacing in word 2010.
See it below:
Styles” from the Format menu and you will see “Paragraph Spacing” item at the bottom of the popup sub-menu.
See it below:
Note that It will bring up a Built-In dialog if you point to “Paragraph Spacing”, and there are five styles of Paragragraph Spacing for your option: Compact, Tight, Open, Relaxed and Double. Mouse the mouse pointer to these options one by one, you will see the preview automatically.
What is Classic Menu for Office
The software Classic Menu for Office is designed for the people who are accustomed to the old interface of Microsoft Office 2003, XP (2002) and 2000. It brings back the classic menus and toolbars to Microsoft Office (includes Word) 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019 and 365. The classic view helps the people to smoothly upgrade to the latest version of Office, and work with Office 2007/2010/2013/2016 as if it were Office 2003 (and 2002, 2000).
Screen Shot of Classic Menu for Word
All new features and commands of Office 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019 and 365 have been added to the menus and toolbars;
Without any training or tutorials after upgrading, users can work with Office 2007/2010/2013/2016 immediately;
Easy to find any command items you want to process;
Easy to show or hide the classic menus, toolbars and ribbon tabs;
Easy to install and use. Supports all languages. Free download!
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