July 13

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Change Word Line Spacing and Paragraph Spacing back to Single Spacing

By Sharyn Baines

July 13, 2021

Formatting, line spacing, paragraph, spacing

Are you finding the default paragraph and line spacing in Word documents rather perplexing (and super frustrating) and want to learn how to change the line spacing in Word?

In this post you will learn how to change the default paragraph and line spacing back to single spacing with no paragraph spacing. I will also guide you in how to fix your default settings so that all new documents retain your required spacing settings.

Why is there extra line spacing in Word between my paragraphs and lines?

You may be finding that every time you hit ENTER you are entering a much bigger gap than you require, creating large spaces between paragraphs. Frustrating right?!

You may have expected that the gap between each line in your paragraph would only be single spacing, and when the ENTER key is pressed the insertion point would move directly to the paragraph below with no spacing in between (a.k.a single spacing).

However, in Word we are given a huge gap between paragraphs and the spacing between each line certainly isn't single spacing.

So not great if you're under pressure to get a report finished or submit a paper at Uni and you now have extremely 'unwelcome' gaps!

The paragraph and line spacing problem is created by default settings which are automatically applied to each new paragraph in a new Word document.

Let me guide you through how to change spacing in Word so that the gaps disappear.

Option # 1

How to change paragraph spacing to single spacing in Word (whole document)

If you would like to change the spacing between paragraphs to single spacing, for ALL of your document follow the steps below. 

Step 1: Press CTRL + HOME on your keyboard to ensure your insertion point (cursor) is at the very top of your document.

Step 2: From the Design tab select Paragraph Spacing.

Step 3: Select No Paragraph Space from the list.

Spacing in Word

Note: This option will modify the Normal Style in your document to be single line spacing and 0 paragraph spacing. This could impact other Styles in your document. If this option doesn’t work for you please follow Option #2 below.

Option # 2

How to change paragraph spacing to single spacing in Word (part of a document)

If you would like to change the spacing between paragraphs to single spacing, for only part of your document follow the steps below.

Step 1: In Microsoft Word, select the paragraph (or paragraphs) of text you are wanting to change to only have a single line of space immediately after the paragraph text.

Spacing in Word

Step 2: On the Home tab click the dialog box launcher arrow in the right corner of the Paragraph group.

Spacing in Word

Note: You can also right-click the selected paragraphs and select Paragraph from the shortcut menu.

Spacing in Word

The Paragraph dialog box will be displayed. The Spacing setting for After is most likely 8pt or 10pt. This setting is causing a gap of 8 to 10pts between each paragraph, each time ENTER is pressed.

Spacing in Word

Step 3: From the Spacing options in the After box set the value back to 0pt.

Spacing in Word

Step 4: Click OK.

Spacing in Word

You will have now updated the paragraph spacing settings for this document only.

This will now ensure that when you press ENTER there will be no gap between paragraphs.

Spacing in Word

Extra tip: You can also adjust the paragraph settings in the Layout tab.

Spacing in Word

These settings only control paragraph spacing and not line spacing. For line spacing follow the steps below.

How to change Line spacing to single spacing in Word (part of the document)

You can also set the Line spacing option back to single. 

Step 1: Select the paragraph (or paragraphs) of text where you are wanting to change the line spacing. 

Step 2: From the Home tab select Line and Paragraph Spacing. Select 1.0 from the list.

Spacing in Word

Now each time ENTER is pressed there will be only single line spacing applied to your paragraphs.

How to change to single spacing in Word for a NEW document

Probably the easiest way to create a new document with single paragraph spacing and single line spacing is to create the document using Microsoft’s Single spaced (blank) template.

You can download a copy of the template here Single spaced (blank) (office.com) or follow the steps below to access the template from within Word.

Step 1: From the File tab click New.

Step 2: n the search box type ‘single spacing’ and then click the magnifying glass to search for the single spacing Word template.

Spacing in Word

Step 3: Once the Single Spaced (blank) template has been found, Word will display the template on the screen. Click the template name to download it.

Spacing in Word

Step 4: On the next screen click Create.

Spacing in Word

You will now have a new blank document with the paragraph spacing and line spacing settings already set to single.

Spacing in Word

How to change default spacing in Word for ALL NEW documents

If you would like to apply new paragraph spacing and line spacing settings to ALL new documents you create, follow the steps below.

Step 1: On the Home tab click the dialog box launcher arrow in the right corner of the Paragraph group.

Spacing in Word

Step 2: In the Paragraph dialog box, check that your paragraph spacing is set to 0pt.

Step 3: The default setting for Line spacing in Word is most likely set to Multiple. Select the drop-down arrow next to Multiple.

Spacing in Word

Step 4: Select Single from the drop-down list.

Spacing in Word

Step 5: Once your paragraph and line spacing options are set to 0pt and Single, click Set As Default.

Spacing in Word

Step 6: Select the option All documents based on the Normal.dotm template.

This will now ensure all new documents you create from this point forward inherit your updated paragraph spacing and line spacing settings. 

Spacing in Word

Step 7: Click OK and then OK again. Now you can relax and know that all new documents will now behave as you want them to.

Note: This does not change the paragraph or line spacing settings for any existing documents.

The steps above are 'version-friendly' and work for Word 2010, Word 2013, Word 2016, Word 2019 and Word for Microsoft Office 365.

Was this blog helpful? Let us know in the Comments below.

If you enjoyed this post check out the related posts below.

Sharyn Baines

About the author

Sharyn is an expert trainer. She became the first certified Microsoft® MOUS Authorised Instructor in New Zealand. She is endorsed by Microsoft® as a qualified Microsoft® Office Specialist and has more than 20 years of experience in the training industry, developing and delivering technology training workshops. Her approach to taking the “techie-speak” out of technology training has placed her as a preferred supplier to many of New Zealand’s leading organisations.

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