Microsoft

Nudge paragraphs in a Word document

Use this keyboard combination to add or delete just a bit of space before a paragraph.
Sometimes you need just a little more space before a paragraph. If you want that extra space distributed evenly throughout the document, update the style to reflect a little more space before or after each paragraph. But if you need a quick fix for a single paragraph, use the [Ctrl]+0 (that's a zero) keystroke combination.
  • Press [Ctrl]+0 to add a little space before the current paragraph. Doing so will add 12 points of space before the paragraph -- it's just a slight nudge really.
  • Press [Ctrl]+0 again to remove 12 points of space. This keyboard combination works with or without text so you can add the space before you even type the paragraph.

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.

8 comments
jwlindsey
jwlindsey

Just another alternative. I created an "Add6Points" macro to add 6 points to a paragraph and assigned it to a "Ctrl-6" key combination. I also created a "Rmv6Points" macro to set the spacing back to 0 points and assigned it to an "Alt-6" key combination. This is more of a "nudge" than the 12 points mentioned in this post.

N4AOF
N4AOF

12 points is a full line space (or more) in 99% of common body text. More importantly, this tip does not actually work as described. This tip does NOT work if you already have Word's paragraph spacing set to auto. In fact the tip only works if you have the paragraph spacing set to either 0 or 6 point. If you have the paragraph spacing set to 0, this tip changes the spacing to 12 points -- which would be more easily accomplished by simply pressing the RETURN key once to add a single line in the current font height (typically either 10 or 12 points). If you have the paragraph spacing set to 6 points before and after the paragraph, this tip changes the before setting to 12 points, thus adding just 6 points -- which might be considered a "nudge" in that it only doubles the spacing before that one paragraph. BUT if you decide you don't like that nudge and press CTRL-0 again to undo the "nudge" instead of returning to your original setting it changes the spacing before the paragraph to 0. If the before AND after spacing were both set to 6, then the tip appears to work because Word uses only the larger setting between two adjacent paragraphs.

ssharkins
ssharkins

Would you mind sharing your macro with the rest of the readers? I'm sure many of them would find it useful!

ssharkins
ssharkins

In many cases, you're right -- adding a line return will be effective. However, adding spacing and inserting a hard return aren't equal, technically. A line return can have far-reaching consequences in a document. But, I agree, most of the time, it probably won't matter.

kdavis
kdavis

Yes, it is true that it changed a 6 pt to 12, but still that was a faster and better edit than putting in an extra line. Thanks for a new tip!

jwlindsey
jwlindsey

1. Select menu item: Tools/Macro/Record New Macro? 2. Key the "Macro Name": Add6Points 3. Click "Assign macro to:" Keyboard 4. Press new shortcut key: Ctrl+6 5. Click: Assign 6. Click: Close (Macro recording control toolbar appears) 7. Select menu item: Format/Paragraph (Paragraph pop-up appears) 8. Click "Indents and Spacing" tab 9. In the "Spacing After" specify: 6 pt 10. Click: OK 11. Click: "Stop Recording" in the Macro recording control toolbar Create a Macro to "Remove 6 points" after a paragraph. 1. Select menu item: Tools/Macro/Record New Macro? 2. Key the "Macro Name": Rmv6Points 3. Click: "Assign macro to:" Keyboard 4. Press new shortcut key: Alt+6 5. Click: Assign 6. Click: Close (Macro recording control toolbar appears) 7. Select menu item: Format/Paragraph (Paragraph pop-up appears) 8. Click "Indents and Spacing" tab 9. In the "Spacing After" specify: 0 pt 10. Click: OK 11. Click: "Stop Recording" in the Macro recording toolbar TO USE THE MACROS: Select the desired paragraph(s). Press Ctrl+6 to "add" or Alt+6 to "remove" 6 points. NOTE: In fact, you do not have to select the whole paragraph to run these macros; just have the cursor IN the paragraph to which you want to add 6 points. If more than one paragraph is involved, just "select" across the paragraph boundaries. Be aware that this macro works only for paragraphs terminated by the "new paragraph" character (ENTER key). If a "text wrapping break" or "new line" character is included in a paragraph it will have the same appearance as a "new paragraph" but the macros will not add/remove 6 points at the line break. For your reference, the macro for "Add6Points" in Word 2003 will contain the following statements: Sub Add6Points() ' ' Add6Points Macro ' Macro recorded ' With Selection.ParagraphFormat .LeftIndent = InchesToPoints(0) .RightIndent = InchesToPoints(0) .SpaceBefore = 0 .SpaceBeforeAuto = False .SpaceAfter = 6 .SpaceAfterAuto = False .LineSpacingRule = wdLineSpaceSingle .Alignment = wdAlignParagraphLeft .WidowControl = True .KeepWithNext = False .KeepTogether = False .PageBreakBefore = False .NoLineNumber = False .Hyphenation = True .FirstLineIndent = InchesToPoints(0) .OutlineLevel = wdOutlineLevelBodyText .CharacterUnitLeftIndent = 0 .CharacterUnitRightIndent = 0 .CharacterUnitFirstLineIndent = 0 .LineUnitBefore = 0 .LineUnitAfter = 0 End With End Sub

N4AOF
N4AOF

True, adding an extra line is not exactly the same as increading the leading of a paragraph (leading is the correct term for what Word calls spacing), but a detailed discussion of the distinction would be far beyond most of the target audience of this tip. The basic options to put more space between two paragraphs in Word include: - Adding more "spacing" before the second paragraph OR - Adding more "spacing" after the first paragraph OR - Adding what Word considers a new paragraph between the existing paragraphs by a paragraph break (what I originally referred to as a new line for simplicity) using an extra RETURN OR - Adding what Word considers a new line by adding a New Line character at the end of the end of the first paragraph. Each of these has a slightly different effect in different circumstances -- and each of them is 100# reliable if you know what you want to accomplish. The original tip has the problem that it is reliable in only one very specific set of circumstances. Also because the mechanism of the original tip was not explained, users have no idea why it does not work in many situations.

Marshwiggle
Marshwiggle

This was something I planned to look into "one of these days" ... now I have; and I have not one, but four new macros for making minor adjustments to paragraph leading. Staring w/ your code, I took out everything but the .SpaceAfter line, to avoid unwanted consequences, and now have the following to quickly add 3 or 6 points before or after any graff: Sub Add3PointsAfter() Selection.ParagraphFormat.SpaceAfter = 3 End Sub Sub Add3PointsBefore() Selection.ParagraphFormat.SpaceBefore = 3 End Sub Sub Add6PointsAfter() Selection.ParagraphFormat.SpaceAfter = 6 End Sub Sub Add6PointsBefore() Selection.ParagraphFormat.SpaceBefore = 6 End Sub

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