How to Make Your Google Docs Easier to Read Using Indents and Spacing

174052 How to Make Your Google Docs Easier to Read Using Indents and Spacing

Making your Google Docs documents easier to read is important for improving comprehension and engagement. Proper formatting through the use of indents, line spacing, and paragraph spacing can greatly enhance readability. Here are some best practices to follow.

Use Indents to Organize Your Document

Indents visually separate paragraphs and highlight key points. Here are some indent formatting tips for Google Docs:

  • Normal Indent: Indent the first line of paragraphs 0.5 inches to clearly denote new paragraphs. Do this by adjusting the Left Indent marker on the ruler.
  • Hanging Indent: Indent all lines of a paragraph except the first line. This is perfect for formatting references and long quotes. Access hanging indents under “Indentation Options”.
  • Nested Indents: Indent embedded paragraphs an extra 0.5 inches. To nest an indent, highlight the text and click the Increase Indent button in the toolbar.
  • Bullet Points: Use indents and bullet points together to break up blocks of text and draw attention to lists.

Adjust Line Spacing for Readability

Line spacing, or the space between each line in a paragraph, impacts readability. Here are some line spacing tips:

  • 1.0 or 1.15 Spacing: Use single spacing or 1.15 for most paragraphs. This is the easiest to read.
  • 1.5 Spacing: Use 1.5 line spacing for intro paragraphs to make them stand out.
  • 2.0 Spacing: Format block quotes, poetry, song lyrics or particularly important sections with double spacing.

Access line spacing options under “Format > Line & Paragraph Spacing”.

Use Paragraph Spacing to Organize Sections

Adjusting the space between paragraphs helps organize sections and highlights transitions between ideas.

  • Spacing Before: Adding space before a paragraph will distinctly separate it from previous sections. Use 12-18 point spacing.
  • Spacing After: Space after a paragraph will isolate it from what comes next. This helps contain ideas. Use 12-18 point spacing.

You can access paragraph spacing options under “Format > Line & Paragraph Spacing”.

Additional Tips for Improving Readability

Here are some other quick Google Docs tips for boosting readability:

  • Use headings and subheadings to organize sections. Format these with bolding.
  • Limit paragraphs to 3-5 sentences. Short paragraphs are less intimidating.
  • Use bullet points and numbered lists to break up dense text.
  • Bold or italicize key terms and phrases for emphasis.
  • Keep a narrow text column for easy scanning – max. 70 characters per line.

See Formatting in Action

Review this sample document to see proper indents, line spacing, paragraph spacing and text formatting in action:


This first paragraph uses a normal indent on the first line. This clearly separates it visually from the preceding section.

This 2nd paragraph applies a hanging indent on all lines except the first, perfect for works cited pages.

This block quote is indented 0.5 inches more than the body paragraphs. The increased indent signals this is an embedded quote.

Line Spacing

This introductory section uses 1.5 line spacing. This adds white space to make it less dense.

The following poem stanza is formatted with 2.0 line spacing:

Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
Sugar is sweet,
And so are you!

Paragraph Spacing

This paragraph has 18 pt. spacing before to distinctly separate it from the previous section. It helps contain the poem as its own unit.

The next paragraph is set apart with 18 pt. spacing after. This signals the transition to a new subheading and topic below.

Key Takeaways

Properly formatting Google Docs with indents, line spacing and paragraph spacing improves comprehension, organization and readability. Use these indent and spacing best practices to make your documents easier to digest for readers.

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