What is line spacing and how can you set it? [Writer, Word & Pages]

A fair definition of line spacing comes from Microsoft:

Line spacing determines the amount of vertical space between lines of text in a paragraph. By default, lines are single-spaced, meaning that the spacing accommodates the largest font in that line, plus a small amount of extra space.

If a line contains a large text character or graphic, Publisher increases the spacing for that line. To space all lines evenly, specify an exact amount of spacing by entering a value followed by a unit of measurement (inches, centimeters, picas, points, or pixels).

Setting Line Spacing for a Single Paragraph

In OpenOffice, setting line spacing is quite easy through the context menu (right-click – or control-click on a Mac).

Select the paragraph that you want to set the line spacing.

Right click, and from the menu select ‘Line Spacing’ >> The line height you wish to set (eg. 1.5 lines).

You can see the two paragraphs in the screen shot above (behind the menu).

The top paragraph has line spacing of 1.5 lines. The second paragraph has single line spacing. A lot of assignments for students, manuscript submissions for books and legal documents require 1.5 line or double line spacing.

Setting Line Spacing Using Paragraph Styles

You can set line spacing for a whole document using paragraph styles.

You can see in the example screen shot below in the formatting toolbar that the style that is applied to the paragraph is ‘Default’. This is the style that we we modify for this example.

From the menu select Format >> Styles & Formatting.

You will see a box like the one below. Right click on the ‘Default’ style, and select ‘Modify…’

In the paragraph style box (below), select the ‘Indents & Spacing’ tab, and then under the title ‘Line Spacing’, select the desired line spacing you require.

Then click on OK.

Once this is applied, then all paragraphs that have the style ‘Default’ will have the line spacing specified. See the example below where all ‘Default’ paragraphs have 1.5 line spacing.

Applying a Paragraph Style

If you are not sure how to apply a paragraph style, follow these steps.

  1. Select the text that you wish to apply the style.
  2. Open the style box by going to Format >> Styles & Formatting.
  3. Double click on the style name you wish to apply.

More information on this is available at the OpenOffice.org Wiki.

This post has given you instructions on how to do this in OpenOffice.org/NeoOffice/LibreOffice Writer. For more information in doing this in other office programs, see the links below.

Additional Resources

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