Quick and Easy Line Formatting in Word

I want to thank those of you who took the trouble to write to me to say how much you've enjoyed this column, and also those who have written with questions. Most of the questions start with, "Working in Word, how can I......?" Benjamin from Chicago wrote with an interesting problem, and the question he asked was also asked by other readers. It’s about how to change line spacing without having to reconfigure styles or use formatting commands.


Benjamin writes in-house support docs for several of his company's applications. He likes to write with single line spacing because more text appears on his monitor, making it easier to keep track of the context. His docs go through usability testing in printed form, and the testers prefer double spacing so they have space to write comments. He wanted to know how set up a style that is single spaced on the screen and double spaced when printed.


I don't think such a style feature exists (what a nifty add-on that would be), but since I spend most of my work day in the exact same predicament, I'll explain what I do. When I'm ready to print my single-spaced document or section of a document, I select all the paragraphs I need to print (sometimes I press Ctrl+A to select the entire document). Then I press Ctrl+2, which automatically double-spaces the text. I print the document or the selected text, and then press Ctrl+1 to return to single-spacing.


If the printed document is more than a few pages long, after I select the single-spaced text I press Ctrl+5 to change to one and a half line spacing (nobody seems to notice it's not double-spaced, and I often forget to mention it – oops, forgetful me).


Here's a list of line spacing shortcuts you may find useful:

Ctrl+1  results in a single-spaced paragraph

Ctrl+2  results in a double-spaced paragraph

Ctrl+5  results in a 1.5-line-spaced paragraph

Ctrl+0  lets you add or remove a line of space before the paragraph (it’s a toggle)


Note: Use the numbers at the top of the keyboard, not the keypad. I've tested these on Word 2000 and later.

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