How to Set Line Spacing in Microsoft Word

By Jennifer Walker

When you are writing a document in Microsoft Word, you may find it necessary from time to time to change the line spacing. Lines that are spaced slightly apart are easier to read that those that are very close. For a document that will be printed out and edited, double spacing leaves space for notes to be written between the lines. Also, the audience for your document may have requirements for line spacing. The publishing industry, for example, is very particular about what line spacing you use, and submitting a document with incorrect spacing will often earn you a rejection before the editor has read a single word.

Things You'll Need

  • Microsoft Word

Microsoft Word 2007

Step 1

Open your document in Microsoft Word. If you have not started writing yet, you can set the line spacing before you start. If you have already started writing, select all of the text (Ctrl A) before proceeding.

Step 2

Select the "Home" menu. In the "Paragraph" section, locate the line-spacing button. It will look like several horizontal lines with vertical arrows on the left and a down-pointing arrow to the right.

Step 3

Click the down-pointing arrow. Word will display several standard line-spacing options to choose from. If you do not see the spacing you want, click on "Line Spacing Options" at the bottom of the list. You can also go directly to this dialogue box by clicking on the box to the right of "Paragraph."

Step 4

Select the "Indents and Spacing" tab.

Step 5

In the line-spacing section of the dialogue box that opens, ype in the boxes or use the arrows to choose how many points of space Word should insert before and after each line. You can also customize the spacing in this section and choose whether Word will leave extra space between paragraphs.

Step 6

When you have made your selections, click "OK." Your text should now be spaced the way you wanted.

Microsoft Word 1997-2003

Step 1

Open your document in Microsoft Word. If you have not started writing yet, you can set the line spacing before you start. If you have already started writing, select all of the text before proceeding.

Step 2

Click on the "Format" menu, then "Paragraph."

Step 3

Choose the Indents and Spacing tab.

Step 4

In the line-spacing section of the dialogue box that opens, type in the boxes or use the arrows to choose how many points of space Word should insert before and after each line. You can also customize the spacing in this section and choose whether Word will leave extra space between paragraphs.

Step 5

When you have made your selections, click OK. Your text should now be spaced the way you wanted.