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How to change line spacing in Word

How to change line spacing in Word
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If you’ve used Office before, you may already know how to change line spacing in Word, at least on a very basic level: the “Styles” box on the Home tab can act as a very prominent switch between standard and zero spacing. But did you know you can also adjust the space between lines to a much finer degree?

In this guide, we’ll show you how to take full control of line spacing in Word, enabling you to make your documents more easily readable with extra space — or to fit more text on each page by closing the gaps.

There are several reasons why you may want to increase the vertical spacing between lines, or alternatively, narrow or remove that space. Greater line spacing can make a document easier to read, so could be useful for writing scripts, while tighter spacing can save you printer paper by squeezing additional text onto each page.

Word’s default spacing is 1.08 lines, so the gap between each line is very slightly larger than single-spaced. In this guide we’ll show you how to quickly change line spacing throughout your document, as well as how to adjust spacing for specific paragraphs.

How to change line spacing in Word

1. In Word, open the “Design” tab and click “Paragraph Spacing.”

How to change line spacing in Word step 1: open the “Design” tab and click “Paragraph Spacing”

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2. To quickly change the line spacing for the entire document, simply click one of the six “Built-In” spacing options. 

From top to bottom, these range from zero spacing (“No Paragraph Space”) to double spacing (“Double”), with single spacing represented by the “Compact” option. 

If there’s already text in the document, it will dynamically change as you hover your mouse over each option, so check which one you like best before clicking it.

How to change line spacing in Word step 2: Click on a spacing option from the menu

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3. You can also tweak spacing for individual paragraphs or sections. To do this, highlight the section you want to edit, then open the “Home” tab. Then, in the “Paragraph” section, click the “Line and Paragraph Spacing” icon.

How to change line spacing in Word step 3: To change spacing for a specific paragraph, highlight it, click "Home" then click the "Line and Paragraph Spacing" icon

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4. Click “Line Spacing Options.”

How to change line spacing in Word step 4: Click “Line Spacing Options.”

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5. Under “Spacing,” adjust the “Before” value to select the size of the spacing that will go immediately before your highlighted text, and adjust the “After” value to select the size of the spacing immediately after it. 

You can also use the “Line spacing” drop-down menu to adjust general line spacing for the highlighted section. This will override the selection you made in step 2. Finally, click “OK.”

How to change line spacing in Word step 5: Adjust "Before" and After" values to change spacing around the highlighted section, and the "Line spacing" value to change spacing for the section itself

(Image credit: Future)

Stay tuned for more tips on using Microsoft Office software; you can also check out our guides on how to convert a PDF to Excel and how to use VLOOKUP in Excel.

James Archer

James joined Tom’s Guide in 2020, bringing years of experience in consumer tech and product testing. As Audio Editor, James covers headphones, speakers, soundbars and anything else that intentionally makes noise. A PC enthusiast, he also covers the occasional spot of computing and gaming news, usually relating to how hard it is to find graphics card stock.