Software

How to remove the spacing between paragraphs

When Word insists on putting more space between paragraphs than you want, take control! Remove the spacing for individual paragraphs or all paragraphs.

Word adds space between paragraphs—whether you want it to or not. If you display paragraph marks, you'll not find any extra paragraph marks. This behavior is part of Word's styling. When you press Enter to create a new paragraph, Word increases the line spacing to mark the change from one paragraph to another.

You can't change the spacing between paragraphs using Backspace—the key you might press first, just from habit. Doing so will just create one big paragraph. Fortunately, you can change the spacing and Word is flexible enough to allow you to change the spacing for one paragraph, several paragraphs, or all paragraphs.

To change spacing between just two paragraphs, choose the paragraph below the space you want to remove and press [Ctrl]+0. If the first combination adds a bit more space, press [Ctrl]+0 a second time to remove the extra space.

You can remove the spacing between all paragraphs, as follows:

  1. Click Home | Paragraph dialog launcher (the small arrow in the lower right corner). In Word 2003, select Paragraph from the Format menu and click the Indents and Spacing tab.
  2. Check the Don't Add Space Between Paragraphs Of The Same Style option.
  3. Click OK.

The change will be apparent in any new content, it will not affect existing content. To remove the space between existing paragraphs, you must select the text first. In addition, if you copy several paragraphs that contain spacing, that spacing will remain intact.

When this option enabled, you can't use the Spacing option in the Paragraph group on the Page Layout tab. You must select the paragraphs and uncheck the Don't Add Space... option first.

One last thing--this property affects only the current document. If you want to set this as a default property, click the Set As Default button in the Paragraph dialog box.

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.

10 comments
kelsyhb
kelsyhb

After many years of using Word sporadically for school, work, and personal use, I've just realized you can decide not only what font and size you want to use as a default, but also your preferred spacing! I feel like I have just discovered the Fountain of Youth or something comparable.

However, my joy is short lived as I can't seem to get the pesky "Don't Add Space Between Paragraphs Of The Same Style" option to carry over to new documents. It's been almost three years since this article was posted, does anyone know of some trick to get that box to stay "checked?"


PS I'm using Word 2007.

stapleb
stapleb

Thank you yet again Susan for your discussion. As a touch typist of many, many years, Enter Enter is a habit very hard to break, but I'm getting over it. I have used Ctrl + O on occasions, and that works well. But, I changed my Normal style in 2007 and made the spacing after a paragraph 12 pt which is the equivalent of pressing Enter twice. The default 10 pt did not create quite enough space for me, but maybe that's an "age" thing. I must admit to playing with the line spacing as well as the 1.15 is too much, and I made it 1.1 which I have used for many years in documentation because I felt the extra white space between lines made easier reading. Single line spacing is based on the old typewriter days of 6 lines per inch, and the text can sometimes be difficult to read, particulary if the lines have a lot of ascenders and descenders making the text even more dense.

TobiF
TobiF

On my computer, the show q (well, that paragraph marker) is active all the time. I simply need to catch double spaces, 15 empty paragraphs instead of a "new page", tabs and new lines instead of indentation etc.

wwgorman
wwgorman

I like one page letters. I try to say what I need to in a concise manner and then fit it to one page. If the letter is a bit long I change the font assigned between paragraphs from, say, 10 point to, say, 5 point.

julsteen
julsteen

Highlight the paragraph, right click, and select "Paragraph...". In the Paragraph window that then opens, you can set a number of different parameters!

ArtfulDodger101
ArtfulDodger101

Typing SHIFT-ENTER instead of ENTER will prevent that extra space from occurring. If you want to do that every time...

ssharkins
ssharkins

I still use Enter Enter too if I'm not paying attention! :)

TobiF
TobiF

Shift+Enter = New line within paragraph. In some versions of Word, justified margins and shift+enter don't work well together though, unless you enter a tab just before the new line...

rifhickman
rifhickman

Shift + enter suppresses a new bullet or a new number in lists until the next 'enter' when the bullets and numbering continue from where they left off.

tolmr
tolmr

But where is the rest of the story? It was just getting interesting - writing for children and all that... Thanks for providing good invaluable advice on Office. Been reading your articles for quite a while now