How to Change Paragraph Spacing in Word 2016: A Step-by-Step Guide

Changing paragraph spacing in Word 2016 might seem like a small detail, but it can make a big difference in the overall look of your document. Whether you’re writing a report, an essay, or just taking down some notes, proper spacing can help your work look more professional and easier to read. Luckily, adjusting paragraph spacing in Word 2016 is a breeze, and I’m here to guide you through it.

Step by Step Tutorial on Changing Paragraph Spacing in Word 2016

Before we dive into the steps, let’s clarify what we’re aiming to achieve. By the end of this tutorial, you’ll know how to adjust the space before and after paragraphs and change the line spacing within a paragraph. This will help you tailor your document to your specific needs and preferences.

Step 1: Open the Paragraph Dialog Box

To begin changing your paragraph spacing, you need to open the Paragraph dialog box in Word 2016.

After selecting the text you want to modify, right-click and choose ‘Paragraph’ from the context menu. This will open the Paragraph dialog box, where you can adjust various settings related to your text’s layout.

Step 2: Adjust Spacing Before and After Paragraphs

Now it’s time to tweak that spacing to your liking.

In the Paragraph dialog box, you’ll see ‘Before’ and ‘After’ fields under the ‘Spacing’ section. Enter the desired spacing amount (in points) to control how much space appears before and after your paragraphs.

Step 3: Change Line Spacing

For a more comfortable reading experience, adjusting line spacing is key.

Still in the Paragraph dialog box, look for the ‘Line spacing’ drop-down menu. Choose from options like single, 1.5 lines, double, and others, or select ‘Exactly’ to set a fixed line spacing.

Once you’ve made all your adjustments, click ‘OK’ to apply the changes to your selected text. Your document should now reflect the new paragraph and line spacing settings, making it look more polished and easier to navigate.

Tips for Changing Paragraph Spacing in Word 2016

Changing paragraph spacing might seem straightforward, but these tips will help you do it like a pro:

  • Remember that the default spacing in Word 2016 is often set to 1.08 lines with 8 points after each paragraph. Use this as a starting point for adjustments.
  • If you want to apply spacing changes to your entire document, press Ctrl + A to select all the text before opening the Paragraph dialog box.
  • To quickly access the Paragraph dialog box, you can also go to the Home tab, click on the small arrow in the lower-right corner of the Paragraph group, and make your adjustments.
  • For a visually consistent document, try to use the same spacing settings throughout, unless you’re setting apart specific sections like quotes or headings.
  • Keep in mind that different types of documents might require different spacing settings. Academic papers often follow specific formatting guidelines, so always check the requirements before making changes.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the standard paragraph spacing for documents?

The standard paragraph spacing can vary depending on the type of document you’re creating. However, a common setup is 1.15 line spacing with a space of 10 points after each paragraph.

Can I set different spacing for different paragraphs?

Absolutely! Just select the paragraph or paragraphs you want to modify and follow the steps to adjust their spacing individually.

How does changing paragraph spacing affect the length of my document?

Adjusting paragraph spacing can significantly alter the length of your document. Increasing space between paragraphs or lines will make your document longer, while decreasing spacing will shorten it.

Is there a keyboard shortcut to open the Paragraph dialog box?

While there’s no direct keyboard shortcut to open the Paragraph dialog box, pressing Alt + H, then PG (one after the other) will get you there quickly.

Can I save my paragraph spacing settings as default for new documents?

Yes, after setting your preferred spacing, click ‘Set As Default’ in the Paragraph dialog box to apply these settings to all new documents based on the same template.


  1. Open the Paragraph dialog box
  2. Adjust spacing before and after paragraphs
  3. Change line spacing


Mastering how to change paragraph spacing in Word 2016 can make a significant impact on the readability and visual appeal of your documents. It’s a simple yet powerful way to ensure that your work stands out and communicates effectively. Whether you’re a student, a professional, or just someone who likes to keep their notes tidy, understanding the ins and outs of paragraph spacing is an essential skill.

Remember, the steps we’ve gone through are just the beginning. Explore and experiment with different spacing options to find what works best for your particular needs. And don’t hesitate to refer back to the tips and FAQs if you hit a snag along the way. With a bit of practice, you’ll be fine-tuning your documents like a seasoned pro in no time.

So go ahead, give your words the breathing room they deserve, and watch as your documents transform from good to great. Changing paragraph spacing in Word 2016 is a small change that can lead to a big improvement in how your written content is perceived. Happy spacing!

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