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

Understanding At Least Line Spacing

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated December 6, 2014)

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:

  1. Display the Home tab of the ribbon.
  2. Click the Line and Paragraph Spacing tool in the Paragraph group. Word displays a number of common spacing options.
  3. Choose Line Spacing Options. Word displays the Paragraph dialog box.
  4. Use the Line Spacing drop-down list to choose At Least. (See Figure 1.)
  5. Figure 1. Adjusting to use At Least line spacing.

  6. Change the At value (to the right of the drop-down list you just used) to reflect the minimum line spacing you want used.
  7. Click OK.

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, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Understanding At Least Line Spacing.

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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