Adjusting Line Spacing

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 20, 2014)


Line spacing refers to the amount of space, vertically, that Docs uses for your text. Specifically, it refers to the space from the baseline of one line to the baseline of the preceding or following line. (A baseline is the imaginary line on which the letters rest.) Normally, Docs uses a default line spacing of 1.15, meaning 115% of whatever the font size is for a given line of text. You can easily modify the line spacing by following these steps:

  1. Select the text whose line spacing you want to adjust. (If you want to adjust the line spacing of an entire paragraph, just make sure the insertion point is within that paragraph.)
  2. Click the Line Spacing tool. Docs shows some common line spacing settings (Single, 1.15, 1.5, and Double).
  3. Click the desired line spacing. Docs immediately applies the line spacing to your text (whatever you selected in step 1).

You can get more precise control over line spacing by choosing Custom Spacing in step 3. Docs then displays the Custom Spacing dialog box. (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1. The Custom Spacing dialog box.

Set your line spacing as desired, and then click the Apply button. The line spacing is specified in numbers of lines, thus an entry of 3 would mean your text is triple-spaced.

It is important to realize that actual line spacing depends on the font you are using in your text. A larger font size results in larger line spacing. For instance, if you are using an 18-point font and have your line spacing set to 2, then your line spacing is actually 36 points. If you change to a 12-point font and your line spacing remains at 2, then your line spacing is actually 24 points.

The upshot of this is that if you use different point sizes on the same line, then Docs adjusts the line spacing for that line according to the largest point size. This can, as you might guess, make your line spacing look a bit funny and irregular. Unfortunately, there is no way around this in Docs.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...


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What is seven more than 0?

2016-04-23 21:14:04

Ron Kearney

Newby pardon any gaffs.
I usually use the "Paragraph..." which appears on the right click menu when something is selected. I'm not aware of the "Line Spacing Tool" and I can't find it. How does it relate to the method mentioned above?
Thank you for doing what you do!

2014-02-20 20:51:21


Jim: If you look at the figure, you'll see there is a place to specify how many points should appear before or after the paragraph.

2014-02-20 19:24:46


Is this the same method to be used for spacing between paragraphs? MS Word makes a distinction of these two, but I can't yet seem to find paragraph spacing in Google Drive.