Word: Change Default Line Spacing

Word: Change Default Line Spacing

Microsoft Word uses 1.15 line spacing by default. It also automatically adds 10 points of space after each paragraph (after a hard return).

To change the default line spacing in Microsoft Word, complete the following steps:

  1. Open a new blank document in Word.
  2. Click on the "Layout" tab > Locate the "Paragraph" group.
  3. Click the small arrow in the lower right corner of the "Paragraph" group. A "Paragraph" dialog box will open.
  4. Click the "Indents and Spacing" tab > Locate the "Spacing" section.
  5. Set the line spacing in the "Line spacing:" drop-down list to "Single" for single spacing. 
  6. Set the spacing "Before:" and "After:" paragraphs as desired.  (If you want no extra spacing between paragraphs, set the spacing at 0 points.)
  7. Click the [Set As Default] button > Select "All documents based on the Normal Template?" > Click [OK].

This is a machine-specific setting, so you will need to repeat these steps for any new computer that you log in to.


There have been a few cases on campus where the spacing defaults will not change permanently, and the line spacing has reverted to the system default of 1.15 when a new document is opened. Please submit an online service request if you experience this issue.

Keywords:  space, single space, singlespace, double space, doublespace, research, paper, papers, term papers, rubric, paragraph, extra space, line spacing

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