Double Space Lines in Paragraphs in Word

by Avantix Learning Team | Updated October 24, 2019

Applies to: Microsoft® Word® 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019 and 365 (Windows)

You can apply double spacing to paragraphs in Microsoft Word in a few ways. It’s important to understand that a paragraph in Word is anything with a hard return after it (you pressed Enter on your keyboard). A paragraph can include text or an inline picture or shape. Single and double spacing is applied to line spacing within a paragraph which is different from space above and below a paragraph.

Recommended article: How to Add or Remove Page Breaks in Microsoft Word

You should follow best practices in your Microsoft Word documents if you want to avoid issues with spacing:

  • Use wordwrapping when entering text (don’t press Enter until you reach the end of a paragraph).
  • Avoid blank paragraphs (often created when users press Enter twice after paragraphs).

Note: Some Ribbon tabs may appear with slightly different names if you are working on Office 365 and have a smaller screen or different display settings. Buttons on the Ribbon may appear as icons only and are also affected by screen size and display settings.

Viewing paragraph marks

To see where paragraphs have been created in a Word document, it’s helpful to turn on Show/Hide ¶ on the Home tab in the Ribbon.

To view paragraph marks and other non-printing characters in Microsoft Word:

  1. Click the Home tab in the Ribbon.
  2. Click Show/Hide ¶ in the Paragraph group. Paragraph marks, tabs, spacing and manual page breaks will display but will not print.

Removing unnecessary blank paragraphs

If a user has pressed Enter multiple times to create space, you should delete the extra blank paragraphs or hard returns.

To delete unnecessary blank paragraphs:

  1. If necessary, click the Home tab and then click Show/Hide ¶ in the Paragraph group.
  2. Select the blank paragraphs (hard returns).
  3. Press Backspace or Delete to delete blank paragraphs.

Applying double spacing to paragraphs using the Ribbon

To apply double spacing to one or more paragraphs in Microsoft Word 2010 or 2013 using the Ribbon:

  1. Select the paragraph(s) to which you want to apply double spacing. If you would like to select all paragraphs, press Ctrl + A.
  2. Click the Home tab in the Ribbon and then click Double in the Paragraph group.

Line spacing buttons appear as follows in Word 2010 or 2013:

Line spacing icons in Microsoft Word 2010.

To apply double spacing to one or more paragraphs in Microsoft Word 2016 and later versions using the Ribbon:

  1. Select the paragraph(s) to which you want to apply double spacing. If you would like to select all paragraphs, press Ctrl + A.
  2. Click the Home tab in the Ribbon and then click Line and Paragraph Spacing in the Paragraph group. A drop-down menu appears.
  3. Click 2.0 for double spacing.

The Line and Paragraph Spacing button appears as follows in 2016 and later versions:

Line and paragraph spacing button in Microsoft Word 2016.

The Line and Paragraph Spacing drop-down menu offers the following options:

Line spacing drop down menu in Microsoft Word 2016.

Applying double spacing to paragraphs using a keyboard shortcut

You can also use keyboard shortcuts to apply double and single line spacing. Press Ctrl + 2 to apply double spacing. Press Ctrl + 1 to apply single spacing.

Applying double spacing to paragraphs using the Paragraph dialog box

To apply double spacing to one or more paragraphs using the Paragraph dialog box:

  1. Select the paragraph(s) to which you want to apply double spacing. If you would like to select all paragraphs, press Ctrl + A.
  2. Right-click and select Paragraph. The Paragraph dialog box appears.
  3. From the line spacing drop-down menu, select Double.
  4. Click OK.

Below is the Paragraph dialog box:

Paragraph dialog box in Microsoft Word with line spacing drop down menu.

Changing line spacing by modifying the Normal style

Every Word document starts out using the Normal style which contains default paragraph and character formatting. You can modify line spacing in the Normal style and change your entire document. If manual line spacing has been applied to one or more paragraph(s), this overrides the Normal style.

To modify the Normal style:

  1. Click in a paragraph using the Normal style.
  2. Click the Home tab in the Ribbon.
  3. In the Styles group, right-click Normal. A dialog box appears.
  4. Click Format. A drop-down menu appears.
  5. Click Paragraph. The Paragraph dialog box appears.
  6. From the line spacing drop-down menu, select Double.
  7. Click OK twice.

Below is the Modify Style dialog box:

Modify style dialog box in Microsoft Word to modify Normal style.

You can also modify the Normal style using the Design tab in Word 2013 and later versions:

  1. Click in a paragraph using the Normal style.
  2. Click the Design tab in the Ribbon.
  3. Click Paragraph Spacing. A drop-down menu appears.
  4. Select Double.

Issues when changing spacing in the Normal style

There are potential issues if you modify spacing in the Normal style. Cells in tables would be affected and so would other styles that are based on the Normal style (such as Header, Footer and Heading styles). Paragraphs using these styles would then also be double spaced (unless spacing has been specifically modified in these styles). If you are comfortable using styles, you could create your own style for double spaced paragraphs or use and modify a different Word style to avoid this issue.

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Summary
How to Double Space Paragraphs in Microsoft Word
Article Name
How to Double Space Paragraphs in Microsoft Word
Description
You can apply double spacing to paragraphs in Microsoft Word in a few ways. It’s important to understand that a paragraph in Word is anything with a hard return after it (you pressed Enter on your keyboard). A paragraph can include text or an inline picture or shape. Single and double spacing is applied to line spacing within a paragraph which is different from space above and below a paragraph.
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Avantix Learning Inc.

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