How to Reduce Line Spacing in Microsoft Word: A Step-by-Step Guide

Reducing line spacing in Microsoft Word is a simple task that can make your document look more professional and easier to read. All you need to do is go to the “Home” tab, find the “Paragraph” group, click on the small arrow to open the Paragraph dialog box, then adjust the line spacing options to your preference.

After completing this action, your document will have a more compact appearance, with less space between each line of text. This can make your document more visually appealing and easier to navigate.


Have you ever opened a Microsoft Word document and felt overwhelmed by the amount of space between each line? Maybe you’re trying to fit more text on a page, or perhaps you simply prefer a tighter look to your paragraphs. Whatever the reason, adjusting line spacing can dramatically change the appearance and readability of your document.

Line spacing refers to the vertical distance between lines of text. Microsoft Word defaults to a setting called ‘Single,’ which is a comfortable setting for most reading. However, sometimes ‘Single’ can still feel too spaced out, or maybe you need to follow specific formatting guidelines for a project or assignment. Knowing how to adjust line spacing is crucial for anyone who uses Word regularly, from students to business professionals. Not only does it affect how much content can fit on a single page, but it also impacts how readers engage with your text. Let’s dive into the step-by-step process of reducing line spacing in Microsoft Word.

Step by Step Tutorial: Reducing Line Spacing in Microsoft Word

Before we get into the nitty-gritty, let’s establish what we’re aiming for. By following these steps, you’ll be able to bring your lines of text closer together, making your document more compact and easier to scan.

Step 1: Open the Paragraph Dialog Box

Go to the “Home” tab and click on the small arrow in the “Paragraph” group to open the Paragraph dialog box.

This dialog box is where all the magic happens when it comes to formatting your paragraphs. You have control over indentation, spacing, and even line and page breaks.

Step 2: Adjust Line Spacing Options

In the Paragraph dialog box, look for the “Line Spacing” dropdown menu and choose the desired spacing option.

You’ll see options like “Single,” “1.5 lines,” “Double,” “At least,” “Exactly,” and “Multiple.” For reducing line spacing, you’ll typically choose “Single” or “Exactly.” The “At least” and “Multiple” options allow for more customization, as you can input the exact number of points you want your spacing to be.

Step 3: Fine-Tune Your Spacing

If you’ve selected “Exactly” or “At least,” enter the point size you want in the “At” box to fine-tune your line spacing.

This step is particularly useful if you’re following specific formatting guidelines that require line spacing to be a certain height.

Step 4: Apply Your Changes

Click “OK” to apply your changes and close the Paragraph dialog box.

Once you click “OK,” your entire document or the selected text will reflect the new line spacing settings.


More Text on a PageBy reducing line spacing, you can fit more lines of text onto a single page, making it ideal for documents with length restrictions or for saving paper when printing.
Professional AppearanceTighter line spacing often looks more professional and is commonly used in business documents, resumes, and academic papers.
Improved Readability for Certain TextSome fonts and smaller text sizes can benefit from reduced line spacing, as it can prevent the text from appearing too sparse and disconnected.


Reduced Readability for Dense TextIf a document is already dense with text, reducing line spacing can make it more difficult to read and can cause eye strain for some readers.
Difficulty in Editing and ReviewingLess space between lines means less room for markup and comments, which can be problematic during the editing and review processes.
Risk of Overlap with DescendersCharacters with descenders (like ‘y’ and ‘p’) can overlap with the ascenders (like ‘l’ and ‘t’) of the text below if line spacing is too tight, creating a messy look.

Additional Information

When it comes to reducing line spacing in Microsoft Word, there’s more than just aesthetic appeal to be considered. You might be working with a document that needs to adhere to specific formatting guidelines, such as those used in academic writing or legal documents. In these cases, mastering the art of line spacing becomes not just a preference, but a necessity.

One thing to note is that different fonts and font sizes can greatly impact the appearance of your line spacing. A font with larger descenders and ascenders may require more space to prevent overlapping and maintain readability. Conversely, a compact font might allow for tighter spacing without compromising the clarity of the text.

Another tip is to consider your audience and the purpose of your document. If you’re creating a public-facing document, such as a flyer or brochure, readability should be your top priority. In these instances, you might opt for slightly more line spacing to ensure that the text is easy to scan and understand.

Lastly, don’t forget about paragraph spacing! This is the space that appears before and after each paragraph. Adjusting paragraph spacing in conjunction with line spacing can help create a clean, coherent look throughout your entire document.


  1. Open the Paragraph dialog box from the “Home” tab.
  2. Choose the desired line spacing option from the dropdown menu.
  3. Enter a point size for exact spacing if necessary.
  4. Apply the changes by clicking “OK.”

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the default line spacing in Microsoft Word?

The default line spacing in Microsoft Word is set to ‘Single,’ which provides a comfortable reading experience for most documents.

Can I apply different line spacings to different parts of my document?

Yes, you can select specific portions of your document and apply different line spacings to each section by following the same steps outlined above.

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

Yes, you can press “Ctrl + Alt + M” to open the Paragraph dialog box quickly.

Will reducing line spacing affect my document’s layout?

Reducing line spacing can alter your document’s layout, especially if you have images or other elements positioned in relation to the text. Always check your document after adjusting line spacing.

Can I save my preferred line spacing settings as a default for future documents?

Yes, after setting your preferred line spacing, you can set it as the default for all future documents by clicking the “Set As Default” button in the Paragraph dialog box.


Reducing line spacing in Microsoft Word might seem like a small detail, but it can have a significant impact on your document’s appearance and readability. Whether you’re aiming to save space, adhere to formatting guidelines, or simply prefer a tighter look, understanding how to adjust line spacing is an essential skill for any Word user.

Remember to consider factors like font choice and document purpose when tweaking your spacing. With the steps and tips provided, you’ll be able to create a document that not only looks great but also conveys your message clearly and professionally.

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