Join Alicia Katz Pollock for an in-depth discussion in this video Adjusting paragraph spacing, part of Word 2010: Tips, Tricks, and Shortcuts.
Word defines a paragraph as every time you press Enter. The paragraph can be a blank line, a heading or an entire block of text. By default, Word inserts a gap between your paragraphs. This is because most people have a bad habit of pressing Enter an extra time to create a blank line. Not only are those extra keystrokes, but if you have ever tried to squeeze content onto one page by manipulating those return characters, you have made yourself a lot of extra work. Let's start by exploring the two styles; Normal and No Spacing.
By default, Word inserts 10 points of space between paragraphs. That is slightly smaller than one blank line. It also puts 1.15 points of space between the rows. Now for paragraphs, that works great, but when you have an address that is not going to work at all. So I am going to highlight this address and then go up to the Styles Gallery and click on No Spacing and it fixes the problem. If you want to adjust how much space happens between your paragraphs, go ahead and select the text and then go up to the Page Layout tab and toward the right side of the ribbon in the Paragraph group, you will see Spacing Before and After.
The default is 10 points and I can move this down to 0 or I can move it back up again. Notice as I add the space before, it goes lower and lower. Interestingly, if I want to set this back to 10, it does jump from 12 to 6 and so I manually have to reset that to 10. The Space After works the same way with the space below the Paragraph. Click the Launcher button at the bottom of the Paragraph group and you can see these same settings in this dialog box right here.
So I will go ahead and click Cancel. There is one more place where you can change the spacing before and after. I will go ahead and click back on Sincerely. If you go back to the Home Ribbon, there is a button right here for Line Spacing and for Paragraph Spacing. The top part has the Line Spacing, but at the bottom, it says Remove Space Before Paragraph and Remove Space After Paragraph. So you can very quickly zap the Paragraph Spacing Before and After. Now let's take a look at something else. Go back up to the top. Let's talk about Soft Returns.
A regular return, when I hit Enter, will create a gap, but sometimes I want text to be on two lines, but I want them to stay together. So for example, I don't want TWO TREES OLIVE OIL to be cut off. So I am going to highlight the space between TREES and OLIVE and I am going to do the keyboard command, Shift+Enter. Instead of a regular Enter, this puts in a Soft or a manual page break and notice that I do not get the extra gap between their paragraphs. Just to show you the alternative, if I actually hit Enter, I get the big gap.
So again, Shift+Enter will give me a manual line break. This is frequently used on Flyers and Title pages where one idea needs two lines for both spacing and for emphasis. When most people start with Word 2010, they are pretty taken a back by the fact that the Paragraph Spacing is different than it used to be and that you have these automatic gaps between paragraphs, but I recommend trying it for a little while. I find that I create paragraphs that look like this far more often than I create paragraphs that look like this. But if you're really convinced that you don't want it anymore, you can turn it off.
Let's go up to the File tab and then go down to Options at the bottom. Click on Advanced in the left-hand column and let's look at our Editing options. Down at the bottom, it says Default paragraph style Normal. If I really needed to, I could change this to No Spacing, then everything will be single spaced with no gaps. But I'll have to keep typing an extra Enter character whenever I do want the gaps between my paragraphs. So I am going to go ahead and cancel this window. One of the best reasons for getting used to this Normal Spacing is when you need to resize text to make it fit on a page.
I am going to resize our document first so that we can actually see what we are doing. I am going to click down here on this 100 and change this to Whole Page. Now, you can see the whole page at once and let's go up to Page 1. Let's say I do want all this text to expand all the way out. I do not want to hit Enter, Enter, Enter, Enter or play with all of the paragraph spacing individually. So I will go ahead and highlight it, go to the Page Layout tab, and then adjust the Spacing. Right now, Before and After are blank because I have a lot of text highlighted and they all have different settings, but I will just go ahead and get started.
So I will make this before and I can see everything spread out, or alternatively, if your text is just a little bit too big for one page, moving your Paragraph Spacing down will make everything fit perfectly. While it may take a little while to get used to, properly spacing your paragraphs will not only save you keystrokes, but make it easier to adjust your layout.
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