Double Space Lines in Microsoft Word Documents

by Avantix Learning Team | Updated January 11, 2023

Applies to: Microsoft® Word® 2013, 2016, 2019, 2021 and 365 (Windows)

You can double space in Word using the Ribbon, the Paragraph dialog box, a keyboard shortcut or by modifying a style. If you double space a paragraph, you are setting the line spacing of the paragraph to 2.0. Since double spacing is a paragraph format, it's important to understand that a paragraph in Word is anything with a hard return after it (you pressed Enter or Return).

A paragraph can include text or an inline picture or shape. Line spacing is applied within a paragraph which is different from space above and below a paragraph. 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.

Note that double space or 2.0 spacing is calculated by Word based on the font size of the selected text.

In this article, we'll review 4 ways to double space in Word:

  1. Use commands in the Ribbon
  2. Use the Paragraph dialog box
  3. Use a keyboard shortcut
  4. Modify the Normal style (or another 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 line spacing:

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

Double space using the Ribbon

You can double space using two different tabs in the Ribbon – the Home tab or the Design tab.

To double space a Word document using the Design tab in the Ribbon:

  1. Click in the Word document.
  2. Click the Design tab in the Ribbon.
  3. Click Paragraph Spacing in the Document Formatting group. A drop-down menu appears.
  4. Select Double. This will change the entire document to double spacing.

The Paragraph Spacing command appears in the Design tab in the Ribbon as follows:

Paragraph command in Word Design tab in the Ribbon to double space in a document.

To double space specific paragraphs using the Home tab in the Ribbon in Word 2016 and later versions:

  1. Select the paragraph(s) that you want to double space. If you want 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 to double space.

The Line and Paragraph Spacing button appears as follows in newer versions of Word (2016 and later):

Double space in Word 2016 and later versions using the Line and paragraph spacing button in the Word Ribbon.

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

Line spacing drop down menu in Microsoft Word with double space or 2.0.

To double space specific paragraphs using the Home tab in the Ribbon in Word 2013:

  1. Select the paragraph(s) you want to double space. If you want 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 space and other line spacing icons in Microsoft Word 2010 or 2013.

Double space using the Paragraph dialog box

To double space one or more paragraphs using the Paragraph dialog box:

  1. Select the paragraph(s) you want to double space. If you want to select all paragraphs, press Ctrl + A.
  2. Right-click and select Paragraph from the drop-down menu. The Paragraph dialog box appears.
  3. Click the Indents and Spacing tab if necessary.
  4. From the Line spacing drop-down menu, select Double.
  5. Click OK.

Below is the Paragraph dialog box:

 

Double space option in Word Paragraph dialog box.

Double space using a keyboard shortcut

To use a keyboard shortcut to double space one or more paragraphs in a Word document:

  1. Select the paragraph(s) you want to double space. If you want to select all paragraphs, press Ctrl + A.
  2. Press Ctrl + 2 to double space.

If you want to change a paragraph back to single spacing, press Ctrl + 1 to single space.

Double space 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 (as long as another style has not been used for standard paragraphs) and change your entire document. If manual line spacing has been applied to one or more paragraph(s), this overrides the Normal style.

To double space a Word 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 and select Modify from the drop-down menu. A dialog box appears.
  4. Click Format at the bottom left of the dialog box. A drop-down menu appears.
  5. Click Paragraph. The Paragraph dialog box appears.
  6. Click the Indents and Spacing tab if necessary.
  7. From the Line spacing drop-down menu, select Double.
  8. Click OK.
  9. Ensure that Only in this document is selected.
  10. Click OK.

Below is the Modify Style dialog box:

Changing the Normal Style to double space by modifying the style in the Modify Style dialog box in Word to change paragraph to double space.

You may encounter 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.

You can right-click other styles and modify the spacing in the same way.

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

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How to Double Space in Word (4 Ways)
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How to Double Space in Word (4 Ways)
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You can double space in Word using the Ribbon, the Paragraph dialog box, a keyboard shortcut or by modifying a style. If you double space a paragraph, you are setting the line spacing of the paragraph to 2.0. Since double spacing is a paragraph format, it’s important to understand that a paragraph in Word is anything with a hard return after it (you pressed Enter or Return).
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