Double Space Lines in Microsoft Word Documents

by Avantix Learning Team | Updated April 13, 2022

Applies to: Microsoft® Word® 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, 2021 and 365 (Windows)

You can double space in Word using a keyboard shortcut, the Ribbon, the Paragraph dialog box or even 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.

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

  1. Using a keyboard shortcut
  2. Using commands on the Home tab in Ribbon
  3. Selecting options in the Paragraph dialog box
  4. Modifying 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).

1. Double space using a keyboard shortcut

To use a keyboard shortcut to single or double space selected paragraph(s):

  • Press Ctrl + 2 to double space.
  • Press Ctrl + 1 to single space.

2. Double space using the Ribbon

To double space 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 space.

To double space 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 space and other line spacing icons in Microsoft Word 2010.

3. Double space using the Paragraph dialog box

To double space 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 space.

4. 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 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 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 space 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 (4 Ways + Shortcut)
Article Name
How to Double Space in Word (4 Ways + Shortcut)
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You can double space in Word using a keyboard shortcut, the Ribbon, the Paragraph dialog box or even 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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Avantix Learning

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