Double Space Lines in Microsoft Word Documents

by Avantix Learning Team | Updated October 9, 2021

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

You can double space paragraphs in Microsoft Word using a keyboard shortcut but you can also use several other methods. Spacing is a paragraph format so 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.

There 4 common ways to apply double spacing in a Word document:

  1. Using a keyboard shortcut
  2. Using the Ribbon
  3. Changing settings in the Paragraph dialog box
  4. Modifying a style

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 using Word 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.

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.

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 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 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:

Double line spacing and other 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 for double spacing in 2016 and later versions.

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

Line spacing drop down menu in Microsoft Word with double line spacing.

Applying double spacing 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 Word to change to double spacing.

Applying double spacing by modifying the Normal style

When you create a new blank document, it 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 change to double spacing for a document by modifying 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:

Changing the Normal Style to double spacing by modifying the style in the Modify Style dialog box.

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.

There may be issues if you modify spacing in the Normal style since other styles are based on this style by default. Cells in tables would likely 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.

This article was first published on October 24, 2019 and has been updated for clarity and content.

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Summary
How to Double Space in Word
Article Name
How to Double Space in Word
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You can double space paragraphs in Microsoft Word using a keyboard shortcut but you can also use several other methods. Spacing is a paragraph format so 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

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