Line Spacing refers to the empty space between lines, and optionally the space between paragraphs in Microsoft Word documents. We will control line spacing with the line spacing control, here in the Paragraph group on the Home tab of the ribbon. If we have a paragraph of text selected and we open the down arrow on the line spacing control, you can see what the spacing is for this paragraph. The default spacing in previous versions of Word was single spacing, or 1.0, and when I choose the old default, you'll notice how this text is compacted and less easy to read. The first paragraph is clearly more compacted than the second paragraph, which is a looser kind of formatting.
The move from 1.0, or single spacing, to 1.15, the new default, does take up a little more space in a printed document. For example, if I had a document the required 60 pages to print before, I'd now be using 70 sheets of paper to print that document. But the trade-off is that all 70 of those pages will be far easier to read then they would be if I'd kept at default spacing of 1.0. This slight increase, slightly over 1.0 of 1.15, makes my document easier to read in this font.
Another choice is what's called 1.5, or space-and-a-half. Rather than having space then for six lines to an inch, I will actually have space for only four. It's very open, very easy-to-read, but it's more often used for editing of a document that's already printed, than it would be for a document that was in final form. Our fourth choice is called Double Spacing, or 2.0. Double Spacing, again, is so loose that it almost becomes more difficult to read, but this is the standard for lots and lots of academic papers.
Beyond 2.0, or double spacing, we simply get into larger sizes that are here for you to choose, and you can set an even looser line spacing if you wish. In addition to the spacing between lines, there are two choices at the bottom of this menu that indicate space between paragraphs. In Word 2010, when I end a paragraph by pressing Enter, Word automatically puts space after that paragraph. So, for example, if I decide that I want to break this paragraph in two and I click here and press Enter, I don't have to press Enter twice.
I will press it only once, and notice that there's white space between the paragraph, automatically supplied by Microsoft Word. If I press Enter again, I actually get too much space, more space than I need. This space is a function of the line spacing. So if I select these two paragraphs and we go back to the line spacing control, I can say Remove Space After the Paragraph or Remove Space Before. Notice that the space before the paragraph is space after the heading, and space after the paragraph tightens up the space between the paragraphs slightly.
Now I can also set all of these options using the Line Spacing Options dialog box. If I choose Line Spacing Options on the Paragraph tab, what I will see is the amount of spacing that is provided. Here we have Multiple Spacing, in other words it's not Single or Double or 1.5. It's actually 1.15, which is a number that isn't reflected on this dropdown list, and there's 10 points, or about a seventh-of-an-inch, before each paragraph.
So this is paragraph spacing. This is line spacing. If I want to remove the spacing before the paragraph, I can simply choose a smaller number, or I can choose 0 and click OK. Notice now, no spacing before each of the paragraphs. I am going to Undo that change and put the spacing back. Let's return to the dialog box and look at a couple of other choices. I could choose to have 6-point spacing, Before and After paragraphs. Now when I do this, I won't get 12 point anywhere.
I will always get at least 6 points before or after the paragraph, or about a 12th of an inch, which is normal line spacing. So 6 points Before and 6 points After, gives me a nice smooth look without really having any extra space anywhere. I can always remove the spacing before or after a paragraph, again, using the dropdown list. The Spacing control is important because the amount of space between lines and between paragraphs in your document improves or degrades the readability of your document.
So as you create particularly complex and lengthy documents, make sure you attend to your line spacing to make your document inviting for people to read.
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