Software

Change Word's default line spacing to what you want it to be

Word 2007 and 2010's line spacing default isn't the same as it was in 2003. Here's how to change it to what you want it to be.

When you upgrade to Word 2007 or 2010, you might notice that the line spacing is just a tad roomier. That's because the default line spacing setting in ribbon versions is 1.15, not 1, as it was in 2003. If you haven't noticed, go ahead and check it out: on the Home tab, click the Line and Paragraph Spacing option in the Paragraph group. It probably shows 1.15 checked. (If not, you might be working with an alternated template.)

The official word from Word is that 1.15 generates more readable online documents-there's a huge push from Microsoft to use the new collaborative features. If this option doesn't suit your needs, you're not stuck. You can turn by the clock, so to speak, and have all Word 2007 or 2010 documents use 1, instead of 1.15. Just complete the following steps to do so:

  1. Click the Home tab.
  2. In the Styles group, click Change Styles and choose Style Set.
  3. Choose Word 2003.
  4. To make this setting the default, choose Set As Default from the Change Styles dropdown.

Oh, that was a bit too easy, wasn't it? The truth is, this option will change more than just line spacing. For example, Word 2003 doesn't automatically insert a blank line between paragraphs, but Word 2007 and 2010 do. If you want the complete package, the solution above is the easiest route. If you just want to change the line spacing, it isn't the best choice.

Perhaps the easiest way to change the default line spacing is to adjust the style(s) you use. For instance, if you use Normal the most, change the line spacing in Normal, as follows:

  1. Click the Home tab.
  2. Right-click Normal in the Styles Quick gallery and choose Modify.
  3. Choose Paragraph from the Format list.
  4. In the Spacing section, change the At setting from 1.15 to 1.
  5. Click OK.
  6. The default is to change just the current document. If you want this change saved at the template level-meaning, all new documents will reflect this change-click the New Documents Based On This Template option at the bottom of the dialog box.
  7. Click OK.

Make this change carefully because Word will also change all styles based on Normal. That may or may not be what you want.

About

Susan Sales Harkins is an IT consultant, specializing in desktop solutions. Previously, she was editor in chief for The Cobb Group, the world's largest publisher of technical journals.

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