Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365. 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: Adjusting Space Before.

Adjusting Space Before

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated May 16, 2022)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365


1

Word provides a wide variety of shortcuts that affect the formatting of your document. One such shortcut, Ctrl+0 (thats a zero) adds or removes a single line of space from before the selected paragraph. In this case, a "single line" is defined as 12 points of space. For some formatting needs, you may want to add more or less space before a paragraph, and so may wonder if you can change Ctrl+0 so it adds or removes the desired space.

There is no configuration setting you can use to modify how Ctrl+0 does its work; it will always add or remove the 12 points. If you have a variety of spacing needs before paragraphs, the most versatile solution is to define styles that control how you want the text to be formatted. Styles can add any amount of space desired before a paragraph, or none at all. You can then assign the styles to keyboard shortcuts and use the shortcuts to apply the styles to your text.

If you don't want to use styles, but instead want to "recode" what Ctrl+0 does, you can create your own macro. The Ctrl+0 shortcut actually runs an internal command named OpenOrCloseUpPara. If you create a macro that uses this same name, it will be run whenever you press Ctrl+0 instead of the internal command. The following macro is just one example of the type you could create:

Sub OpenOrCloseUpPara()
    If Selection.ParagraphFormat.SpaceBefore = 0 Then
        Selection.ParagraphFormat.SpaceBefore = 18
    Else
        Selection.ParagraphFormat.SpaceBefore = 0
    End If
End Sub

This code first checks to see if the space before the paragraph is 0. If it is, the macro sets the space before to 18 points (a line and a half). If the space before is not 0, then it is set to 0 to effectively remove any space before.

Note:

If you would like to know how to use the macros described on this page (or on any other page on the WordTips sites), I've prepared a special page that includes helpful information. Click here to open that special page in a new browser tab.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (12176) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Adjusting Space Before.

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 two less than 2?

2018-11-30 15:05:19

Ellie

Thanks for this tip. I have a related question. The styles that I use have spacing only after paragraphs. When I start a numbered or bulleted list, I like to paragraph immediately preceding the list to have no spacing after it. Is there a way to create a style or a macro that eliminates the space after the paragraph that preceeds a certain style? I hope this description makes sense. Thanks. Ellie


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