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How to Set Paragraph Spacing in Word 2013

Word 2013 lets you add “air” to the space before or after or in the middle of your paragraphs. In the middle of the paragraph, you have line spacing. Before and after the paragraph comes paragraph spacing.

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How to set the line spacing

Changing the line spacing inserts extra space between all lines of text in a paragraph. Because Word adds the space below each line of text in the paragraph, the last line in the paragraph will also have a little extra space after it.

The Line Spacing command button is found in the Home tab’s Paragraph group. Click this button to view a menu listing common line-spacing values. Choose a new line-spacing value from the menu to change the line spacing for the current paragraph or all paragraphs selected as a block.

  • Word sets line spacing at 1.08 as its standard, or default. Supposedly, that extra .08 lines of text makes text more readable than using single spacing, or 1.0.

  • To double-space your text, choose the value 2.0 from the Line Spacing command button menu. This setting formats the paragraph with one blank line below each line of text. To triple-space, choose the value 3.0, which makes one line of text appear with two blank lines below it.

  • Ah! The keyboard shortcuts:

    • To single-space, press Ctrl+1.

    • To double-space, press Ctrl+2.

    • To use 1–1/2-space lines, press Ctrl+5.

  • Yes, Ctrl+5 applies 1–1⁄2-line spacing, not 5-line spacing. Use the 5 key in the typewriter area of the computer keyboard. Pressing the 5 key on the numeric keypad activates the Select All command.

  • There’s no such thing as having no line spacing. If you want to "remove" fancy line spacing, select some text and press Ctrl+1 for single spacing.

  • When you want text to stack up one line atop another line, such as when typing a return address, use the soft return at the end of a line: Press Shift+Enter.

Setting specific line-spacing options

For persnickety line spacing, you summon the Paragraph dialog box. In the Spacing area of the dialog box, use the Line Spacing drop-down list to set various line-spacing values: Single, 1.5, and Double, as found on the Line Spacing command button menu.

Some options in the Line Spacing drop-down list require you to also use the At box to sate your specific line-spacing desires. Values set in the At box indicate line spacing, as described in this list:

  • At least: The line spacing is set to the specified value, which Word treats as a minimum value. Word can disobey that value and add more space whenever necessary to make room for larger type, different fonts, or graphics on the same line of text.

  • Exactly: Word uses the specified line spacing and doesn’t adjust the spacing to accommodate larger text or graphics.

  • Multiple: This option is used to enter line-spacing values other than those specified in the Line Spacing drop-down list. For example, to set the line spacing to 4, choose Multiple from the Line Spacing drop-down list and type 4 in the At box. Word's default 1.08 line-spacing value is set with the Multiple option.

Values are specified in the At box in increments of 0.01. So, when you want to tighten up text on a page, select all paragraphs on that page, choose Multiple from the Line Spacing drop-down list, and then type 0.99 in the At box. Or, to add more room subtly, type 1.01.

Click the OK button to confirm your settings and close the Paragraph dialog box.

How to make space between paragraphs

It's a silly thing to do: Press Enter twice to end a paragraph. People say that they need the extra space between the paragraphs for readability. That’s true, but what they don't realize is that Word can add that space automatically. The secret is to use the Before and After paragraph formatting commands — commands that have nothing to do with losing weight.

To add room after a paragraph, use the After command. It’s found in the Page Layout tab’s Paragraph group.

To add room before a paragraph, use the Before command, also found on the Page Layout tab’s Paragraph group.

Both commands are also found in the Paragraph dialog box, in the Spacing area.

  • The space you add before or after a paragraph becomes part of its format.

  • Most of the time, space is added after a paragraph.

  • You can add space before a paragraph, for example, to further separate text from a document heading or subhead.

  • To add space inside a paragraph, use the line-spacing commands.

  • The values used in the After or Before boxes are points, not inches or potrzebies. Points are also used in Word to set text size.

  • Adding space before or after a paragraph is a great way to spread out a list of bullet points or numbered steps without affecting the line spacing within the bullet points or steps.

  • Graphics designers prefer to insert more space between paragraphs when the first line of a paragraph isn’t indented. When you indent the first line, it’s okay to have less spacing between paragraphs.

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