How to Use Double Spacing in Microsoft Word 2010

987692 How to Use Double Spacing in Microsoft Word 2010

Double spacing refers to having additional space between lines of text in a document. This formatting is commonly used in academic papers, essays, cover letters, and other formal documents to improve readability.

In Microsoft Word 2010, there are a few ways to double space text:

Set Double Spacing for the Entire Document

  1. Select all text in the document by pressing Ctrl + A on your keyboard or by clicking and dragging your mouse over all text
  2. Go to the Home tab
  3. In the Paragraph section, click the Line and Paragraph Spacing button (looks like lines with arrows)
  4. Select 2.0 to double space the entire document

Set Double Spacing for a Paragraph

  1. Click inside the paragraph you want to double space
  2. Go to the Home tab
  3. In the Paragraph section, click the Line and Paragraph Spacing button
  4. Select 2.0 to double space just that paragraph

You can use this method to double space some paragraphs but not others.

Set Double Spacing as the Default

If you want all new Word documents to automatically be double spaced:

  1. Go to the Home tab
  2. Click the Styles button in the lower right (looks like a paintbrush and paint palette)
  3. Right click on Normal
  4. Click Modify
  5. Under Formatting, click the Double Space button
  6. Click OK

Now any new document will default to double spacing.

Use Keyboard Shortcuts

For quicker double spacing, use these keyboard shortcuts:

  • Ctrl + 2: Double space selected paragraph(s)
  • Ctrl + 1: Single space selected paragraph(s)

Adjust Line Spacing

You can fine tune line spacing in addition to the common single, 1.5, and double spacing options:

  1. Select the text to adjust
  2. Go to Home > Line and Paragraph Spacing
  3. Select Line Spacing Options
  4. Under Spacing, choose the amount of space you want between lines
  5. Click OK

Use this method to set spacing to an exact amount, like 1.2 or 2.5 spacing.

Set Spacing Between Paragraphs

To add extra space between paragraphs:

  1. Select the text
  2. Go to Home > Line and Paragraph Spacing > Line Spacing Options
  3. Under Paragraph, set the spacing before and after each paragraph
  4. Click OK

Troubleshooting Double Spacing Issues

If you are having issues getting part or all of your document to double space properly:

  • Check that spacing has not been manually overridden with custom spacing within certain paragraphs
  • Make sure spacing is set uniformly in all styles used in the document, not just the default Normal style
  • Examine headers, footers, tables, text boxes, and other non-standard text containers to see if special formatting is overriding double spacing
  • Use Ctrl + Q to strip manual paragraph formatting and restore style-based spacing
  • Use the search and replace formatting features to replace all single, 1.5, or custom spacing with double spacing

Resetting formatting and styles may help resolve stubborn double spacing problems.

When to Use Double Spacing

Here are some of the main situations where double spacing is appropriate and commonly used:

  • Academic papers and essays
  • Business reports and proposals
  • Legal documents like contracts
  • Cover letters and resumes
  • Formal letters and correspondence
  • Documents intended for print rather than digital use
  • Documents being submitted to agents, publishers, or editors

Double spacing improves readability and leaves space for editor comments and annotations. Use single spacing for internal business documents meant to save paper or be read digitally.

Benefits of Double Spacing

Double spacing text in Word provides several advantages:

  • Readability – More space between lines reduces density and fatigue for the reader
  • Editing – Extra space leaves room for proofreading marks and edits
  • Peer review – Reviewers can easily add comments and critiques between lines
  • Printing – Double spaced documents take up more paper, requiring printing on both sides
  • Academic standards – Many style guides require academic papers to be double spaced

The extra white space introduced by double spacing makes text less crowded and intimidating. Although it uses more paper, it remains the expected formatting for official documents.

When to Avoid Double Spacing

There are also situations where double spacing may not be appropriate or necessary:

  • Short digital communications like emails and chat messages
  • Informal internal documents and notes
  • Digital documents not intended for printing
  • Website content and blogs
  • Magazines, newsletters, and similar publications
  • Documents with space limitations or length requirements

Use judgment when deciding if double spacing improves or hinders readability based on the purpose and audience for a document.

Tips for Working with Double Spaced Documents

  • Set double spacing as your default to start all new documents with proper formatting
  • Use styles and templates with correct spacing built-in to minimize manual adjustments
  • If you need to change between single and double spacing frequently, create and apply custom styles
  • Change body text spacing first, then headers, footers, and other elements separately
  • Review final documents carefully and run an automated spacing check if available in your Word version

Developing good double spacing habits will save you formatting trouble down the road.


Using double line spacing in Word is a simple yet impactful formatting change that can dramatically improve the readability of formal documents. Take advantage of the various methods to apply double spacing outlined here based on your needs – whether to selected text, default styles, or an entire document.

Consistent double spacing demonstrates professionalism and makes your work easy on the eyes for reviewers. Avoid dense blocks of single spaced writing outside of informal communications. With the tips covered here, you can easily leverage double spacing to showcase your best work.

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