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: Understanding At Least Line Spacing.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated April 17, 2021)
There are several methods Word can use for line spacing. Typically, the default spacing type (as specified in the Line Spacing field of the Paragraph formatting dialog box) is Single. This means line spacing will be adjusted, automatically, as a "single" line. Word's definition of "single" means that the spacing is 120% of the largest font size or element on each individual line. Thus, if the largest font size used on a particular line is 20 pt, then the line spacing for that line will be 24 pt.
The effect of the default setting is that if you end up with a line that has nothing but small type on it, then the spacing for that line will be less than for the other lines in the paragraph. If you don't want this to occur, you can use the At Least line spacing setting. This setting allows you to specify the minimum line spacing for the paragraph. Word is free to increase spacing beyond what you specify, but it cannot reduce it.
To change this setting, follow these steps:
Figure 1. Adjusting to use At Least line spacing.
WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (13336) 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: Understanding At Least Line Spacing.
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