Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. 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: Creating Thin Spaces.

Creating Thin Spaces

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 24, 2017)

2

Word does not include a feature to automatically create thin spaces, like it does for regular spaces or non-breaking spaces. Some people require a space that is narrower (thinner) than the regular space, to place just a small amount of space between items on a line.

There are actually a few ways you can create or approximate thin spaces in your documents. One way is to rely on some of the special spaces provided in Unicode. For instance, you could type 2009 and then, with the insertion point immediately after the 9, press Alt+X. This converts the 2009 into the Unicode character that happens to use that code. That character happens to be a thinner space than the regular space.

If that doesn't satisfy your spacing needs, a workaround is to use a regular space and then format that space (and only that space) to a point size smaller than what is used for the surrounding text. This requires some trial and error to get the appearance just as you like it. The drawback to this approach is that if you use justified text, Word automatically adjusts the width of the spaces on a line to fit the overall goal of justifying both margins. This, of course, defeats your purpose.

You can also use non-breaking spaces, and then format them to a smaller point size. Non-breaking spaces are not “resized” by Word when justifying text.

A final option is to adjust the character spacing before and after the item that you want to include additional space. This does not add a real “thin space,” but instead instructs Word to “space out” the items. This is done by following these steps:

  1. Select the item (such as an em dash) together with the space before and after it.
  2. Press Ctrl+D. Word displays the Font dialog box.
  3. Make sure Character Spacing tab is selected (Word 2007, Word 2010, and Word 2013) or the Advanced tab (Word 2016). (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Advanced tab of the Font dialog box.

  5. In the Spacing drop-down list, select Condensed or Expanded, depending on your needs.
  6. Using the By setting to the right of the Spacing drop-down list, indicate how much you want spacing condensed or expanded.
  7. Click on OK to close the dialog box.

Again, this approach may take a bit of trial and error on your part to get the desired effect.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (10626) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Creating Thin Spaces.

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Selecting Multiple Cells by Mistake

Click on a cell and you expect the single cell to be selected. If you instead get a group of cells, it can be frustrating to ...

Discover More

Using the FORECAST Function

Excel provides a handy worksheet function that allows you to forecast values based upon a set of known values. This function, ...

Discover More

Last Saved Date in a Footer

When printing out a worksheet, you may want Excel to include, in the footer, the date the data was last saved. There is no ...

Discover More

Create Custom Apps with VBA! Discover how to extend the capabilities of Office 2013 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access) with VBA programming, using it for writing macros, automating Office applications, and creating custom applications. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2013 today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Using Very Large Font Sizes

You can format your text to use some very, very large font sizes. The results you see from formatting with large fonts depend ...

Discover More

Engraving Text

Word allows you to format your text in a number of different ways. One rather esoteric way to format your text is by ...

Discover More

Finding Word's Font Substitutes

Different machines can have different fonts installed on them. Because of this, it is possible for a document that looks fine ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 6 + 0?

2017-06-29 04:22:42

Lyn Imeson

You can also create a thin space by typing 8201 whilst holding down Alt.


2017-06-24 05:29:03

Dick Margulis

The Insert > Symbol > Special Characters dialog box offers a 1/4 em space, which is not a thin space (typically 1/5 or 1/6 em, depending on the software) but is thinner than a standard word space (1/3 em in unjustified text). This may be sufficient for the user's needs.

(see Figure 1 below)

Figure 1. 


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the ribbon interface (Word 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.