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.


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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