• 2-minute read
  • 31st March 2016

How to Set Line Spacing in Microsoft Word

In the old days, getting a document written up neatly involved having a medieval monk painstakingly copy everything out by hand in elaborate illuminated script.

Thankfully, now we have word processors, which makes life much simpler. As well as eliminating the need to hire a scribe, programs like Microsoft Word provide a range of formatting options to make sure your work is easy to read.

In this post, for example, we take a look at how to set line spacing in Microsoft Word.

What is Line Spacing? Why Does it Matter?

Line spacing is the gap between lines of text in your document. College students are often told to use double spacing (i.e., a gap twice the height of the font) to enhance the clarity of their written work and so markers have space to leave feedback on a paper.

How to Set Line Spacing

Adjusting the spacing in a document is reassuringly easy thanks to the pre-defined settings in Microsoft Word (instructions apply to Word 2007 onwards):

  1. Select the text you want to adjust
  2. Find the “Paragraph” section on the “Home” tab
  3. Click on the line and paragraph spacing button to open the dropdown menu
  4. Select the desired line spacing (standard options range from 1.0 to 3.0)

linespacingTo double-space your document, simply click “2.0.” If you pick “Line Spacing Options” from the dropdown menu, you can also customize the spacing to suit your requirements.

Taking Shortcuts

If you find yourself regularly adjusting the spacing in your work, you could save time by using the keyboard shortcuts in Microsoft Word. For line spacing, these are:

Line Spacing




Ctrl + 1

Command + 1


Ctrl + 5

Command + 5


Ctrl + 2

Command + 2

To set the spacing in your document this way, simply select the passage(s) you want to modify and use the shortcut for the spacing desired. To select all text in the document, use “Ctrl + A” on PC or “Command + A” on Mac.

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