Many university style guides specify using double line spacing because it gives space for markers to write feedback on your finished essays and makes them easier to read than when text is in cramped paragraphs.
Knowing how to adjust this setting in Microsoft Word is also valuable outside of academia, since it allows you to format documents professionally and attractively. As such, we’ve prepared this simple guide on how to set line spacing in Microsoft Word.
What is Line Spacing?
Line spacing is the gap between lines within a paragraph (distinct from paragraph spacing). In the era of the typewriter, double spacing was used so that writers could make corrections on the go, but nowadays it’s more a matter of clarity and readability.
How to Set Line Spacing
Microsoft Word comes with a number of predefined spacing settings. The most common are single (1.0), one-and-a-half lines (1.5) and double (2.0).
Thankfully, adjusting these settings is easy (the following applies to Word 2007 onwards):
- Select the passage of text you want to adjust
- On the ‘Home’ tab, find the ‘Paragraph’ section
- Select the ‘Line and Paragraph Spacing’ button
- From the dropdown menu, click on the required setting
To select double spacing, click ‘2.0’ in this menu (if you want to further customise spacing, click on the ‘Line Spacing Options’ button).
Taking a Shortcut
If you find yourself needing to adjust the spacing regularly in your work, you could save time by using Microsoft Word’s keyboard shortcuts. For line spacing, the shortcuts you’ll need are:
|1.0||Ctrl + 1||Command + 1|
|1.5||Ctrl + 5||Command + 5|
|2.0||Ctrl + 2||Command + 2|
If you’re using these shortcuts, double spacing your document becomes even simpler:
- Select the text you want to adjust (you can use ‘Ctrl + A’ to select everything)
- Use ‘Ctrl + 2’ (PC) or ‘Command + 2’
- Sit back with a self-satisfied look on your face
- Realise you still have to write the rest of your essay
- Get back to work
What is Line spacing in Word Document?
In a word document, the space between two lines is the line spacing and Microsoft Word allows you to add a single spacing, double spacing or any customized spacing of your choice.
Although the words single spacing and double spacing are self-explanatory that does not mean that a font with 12-point height will produce a single spacing of 12-point height and a double spacing would produce a 24-point height. Double spacing is most commonly used in academic or research documents for proofreading.
However, the fact is that irrespective of the point height, different font types have different heights. For example, a 12-point Times New Roman will have a different line spacing than Serif font.The white space between two text lines is also known as the type of typography, “leading”.
In single space leading, the height of spacing is between 110% to 120% and for double spacing, the spacing width is 220% to 270% of the size of the font. The heavier fonts require large loadings whereas the thinner fonts need smaller leading.
To counter the ambiguity in line spacing for different fonts, Microsoft Word introduced the new option of default spacing. The default line spacing was set as 1.15 in the Word 2007 to Word 2010 and 1.08 spacing in Word 2013 and Word 2016. The default spacing set by Microsoft is not fixed as you have the option to set the leading height of your choice as default.
The following images highlight the difference between default, single and double spacing.
Single Spacing Double Spacing Default Spacing