Added Spaces when Dragging and Dropping Paragraphs

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 6, 2021)

Chris has noticed a behavior in Word in the last few months that he hadn't noticed before. Whenever he drags and drops a paragraph, Word inserts a leading space before the next paragraph after both the removal point and the insertion point. He wonders why Word is doing this and how he can stop it.

It appears that this behavior may be affected by two settings in Word. Follow these steps:

  1. Display the Word Options dialog box. (In Word 2007 click the Office button and then click Word Options. In Word 2010 or a later version, display the File tab of the ribbon and then click Options.)
  2. Click Advanced at the left side of the screen.
  3. Make sure the Use Smart Cut and Paste option is selected. (This option is at the very end of the Cut, Copy, and Paste section.)
  4. Click the Settings button to the right of the Use Smart Cut and Paste option. (This button is only accessible if you complete step 3.) Word displays the Settings dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  5. Figure 1. The Settings dialog box.

  6. Clear the Adjust Sentence and Word Spacing Automatically check box.
  7. Click OK to close the Settings dialog box.
  8. Close the Word Options dialog box.

This should affect future dragging and dropping, but it won't affect anything you previously did in the document. To catch those, you may want to do a final "Find and Replace" when you are done editing. You can search for a paragraph mark (^p) followed by a space and replace it with a paragraph mark. That way you'll get rid of any unwanted leading spaces at the beginning of a paragraph.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (10382) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365.

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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