How to Set Line Spacing in iBooks Author

Known as leading (rhyme with bedding) to publishers, line spacing controls how close lines of text are to each other within a column or text box. In iBooks Author, you set line spacing in increments of one line, so a setting of 1.5 provides a half line of space between lines. The actual measurement of a half line depends on the current text size.

To apply line spacing in iBooks Author, you have several options:

  • Choose a value from the Line Spacing menu in the Format bar. The menu displays the current line spacing value, and it has a double-arrow icon to its left.

  • Access the Text inspector’s Text pane. This pane provides the Line slider, a text field, and stepper controls to adjust the line spacing.

  • Also in the Text inspector’s Text pane, use the pop-up menu below the Line text field to choose Single or Double (rather than enter 1 or 2) or to choose Multiple (which defaults to the last line spacing you specified).

    Adjust line spacing in the Text Inspector.
    Adjust line spacing in the Text Inspector.

If you’ve used desktop publishing tools such as InDesign and QuarkXPress, you’re used to specifying line spacing precisely in points, but iBooks Author instead uses the notion of line increments common to Microsoft Word and Apple Pages by default. You can specify line spacing in terms of points by choosing Exactly, At Least, or Between from the pop-up menu below the Line text field. The option you choose determines how the spacing is applied:

  • Exactly: Ensures that all lines are spaced apart by the number of points specified in the Line text field, even if some elements in the line overlap with adjacent lines

  • At Least: Ensures that no less than the space specified in the Line text field is used, but if you have superscripts or elements that are larger than the normal text in a line, extra space is added to avoid overlap with adjacent lines

  • Between: Applies the amount of space specified in the Line text field to be used between lines, which can cause it to vary if lines have larger-than-normal objects in them

Most documents should use one of the line-spacing increments or the Exactly option to prevent distracting variation in line spacing. You may want to use At Least or Between in documents that contain complex scientific or mathematical formulas that might take one or more lines but need to be in the text itself, rather than broken off into a figure.

If you’re not using first-line indents to indicate when a new paragraph has begun, you should use paragraph spacing to provide that visual indication. But even if you use first-line indents for your text, you may want to use paragraph spacing in other text, such as before headings, to help make their sections more visibly separate from the text that precedes them.

Whatever your purpose for adding space above or below a paragraph, you specify the spacing in the Text Inspector’s Text pane, using the Before Paragraph and After Paragraph controls. You can use whichever method you prefer — the sliders, the text fields, or the stepper controls — to adjust the spacing.

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