Adding Space between Paragraphs – The Right Way

When most people want some space between paragraphs in a Word document, they simply press the Enter key a couple extra times. While that certainly does the trick, it’s a very sloppy way of formatting and can cause all sorts of formatting problems for anyone who gets stuck laying out the document later. A more precise and efficient way control the distance between paragraphs is to add space above or below the paragraphs. Here’s what you do:

  1. Click anywhere in the paragraph you want to add spacing above or below. To select everything, press Ctrl+A.
  2. Enter the Format Paragraph command:
    • In Word 2007, click the Home tab and click Paragraph.
    • In earlier versions of Word, click Format, Paragraph.
  3. Click the arrows next to the Spacing Above or Below boxes to add the desired amount of space before or after the paragraph. (I usually add 6 points below each paragraph and leave the Spacing Above setting at 0.)
  4. Click OK. You should now have a nice, uniform amount of space between paragraphs.

Tip: If you have a document with a bunch of extra blank paragraphs, you can get rid of all the extras by using Find and Replace (Ctrl+H) to replace ^p^p with ^p. Repeat the process several times until Word no longer finds ^p^p. You can do the same thing to remove superfluous spaces in your document. Just replace two spaces with one several times until all occurrences of two spaces are removed.

Meet the Author

Joe Kraynak
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Author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Computer Basics.

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