Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007 and 2010. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: No Space Before at the Top of a Page.

No Space Before at the Top of a Page

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 16, 2014)


When you define characteristics for a particular paragraph style, one of the settings you can make is for Word to leave a certain amount of vertical space before the paragraph. (This is done on the Indents and Spacing tab of the Paragraph dialog box.) William was wondering if there was a way to set Word to cause a style, particularly a heading, to ignore the space before setting when that paragraph is at the top of a page.

Word, by default, should suppress the extra space before a paragraph when it is at the beginning of a page, when that paragraph is just part of the normal flow of text. If something is done to alter that flow (such as using a manual page break, a column break, or a section break before the paragraph), then Word treats the vertical spacing differently. In those cases, it still adds the space before instead of suppressing it.

You can change how Word handles the space before by modifying the compatibility options in Word. Display the Word Options dialog box and click Advanced at the left of the page. Scroll to the bottom of the options and then click the plus sign (Word 2007) or triangle (Word 2010) next to Layout Options. You'll see a whole bunch of compatibility settings displayed. If you scroll down through the settings (they are listed alphabetically), there are several that begin with the word "suppress." You can fiddle with these options to see what effect they have on the vertical placement of your text at the top of a page.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (9925) applies to Microsoft Word 2007 and 2010. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: No Space Before at the Top of a Page.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...


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What is 1 + 8?

2015-05-07 04:51:53


I also read the other article mentioned in Sarah's comment. The problem is that, if you use both heading styles and section breaks, the extra space will still occur. For those users attempting to create final manuscripts with an even top margin, this is a problem. And "fiddling" with the options is not helpful, as mentioned in the other post--the options do not perform as expected. Word should address this problem in future versions.

2015-04-28 16:18:07


Found your other article on this:

Sorry I'd missed it before, looks like others are having the same issue. The solution that worked for me stemmed from Rachel's comment: "The only way I have been able to make the paragraph spacing take effect without fail every time is to use a Next Page Section Break."

I turned off 'page break before' in my style and inserted next page section breaks instead, worked like a charm!

Again, great site! Thanks!

2015-04-28 16:02:20


I'm running Word 2013 and would like to have the spacing before the paragraph included (unsuppressed) at the top of the page.

My initial settings didn't have the suppress space boxes checked in Options, but the spaces are suppressed anyway... how do I get them to show without adding an extra line break at the top of each page?

Could it be that the document is based on a template with that box checked?

Thanks for your help, love the site.

2014-01-08 07:28:58

This is a great tip

"You can fiddle with these options to see what effect they have on the vertical placement of your text at the top of a page." Gee, good thing I found this tip page or I wouldn't have known that I could fiddle around with things until it worked right!

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