earning how to double space in Word is a vital skill if you’re planning to send your writing to an editor, publication, or academic journal. As well as making some documents easier to read, double spacing lets editors easily add comments and editing marks above your text. We’ll be walking you through double spacing in Word and Word Online today, as well as explaining what it is and when you should use it. 

What does double spaced mean?

A “Double spaced” document is a text with approximately twice the amount of vertical space between lines when compared to a standard document. In other words, there’s a full blank line between each row of text that an editor can write in. In typography, this space between lines is called “leading”.

Advertisement

Double spacing is a practice that typists have used since the advent of typewriters in the 19th century. In fact, double-spaced documents used to be the standard due to the limitations of typewriters. It was only in the mid-20th century that publications standardized single spacing — primarily to cut the costs of mass printed material.

When you should use double spacing in Word

It’s a good idea to use double spacing in situations where you expect somebody to edit or comment on your text in a professional capacity. This includes when writing an academic piece or essay, sending a novel to an agent or editor, or submitting content to a magazine. Legal documents are also typically doubled spaced.

However, you can also double space in Word if you’re struggling to focus on your text. It’s worth noting, though, that this may not always help. Some studies suggest that the additional spacing between lines can make it easier for readers to lose their place in a text, rather than harder.

Whatever spacing you choose, the important part is that it is consistent. A text with randomly differing leading is likely to confuse the reader’s eyes. It may be acceptable to use double spacing for quote blocks within a text, but different line spacing per chapter or section is almost always a bad idea.

With all that said, let’s get into how to do double spacing in Word:

How to Double Space in Microsoft Word

Because of its prevalence in academic writing, Microsoft has made double spacing in Word quite easy to achieve. In fact, it takes just three clicks:

  1. Open the “Design” tab of the ribbon and click “Paragraph Spacing > Double”

    That’s it. Microsoft Word will automatically adjust the leading of your current document and any text you write after that point.

    Windows 11 - Word - Design - Paragraph Spacing - Double

How to Double Space in Word Online

If you’re left wondering how to double space on Word Online, it’s likely because the process is slightly different. The method to double space from your browser takes a few more clicks:

  1. Open the “Layout” tab of the ribbon, click the three dots on the right, and choose “Paragraph Options…”

    Windows 11 - Word Online - Layout - Three-dot - Paragraph Options

  2. Change the “Line spacing” drop-down in the pop-up from “Single” to “Double” and press “OK”

    You’ll notice that your text has automatically changed to match your line height settings.

    Windows 11 - Word Online - Layout - Three-dot - Paragraph Options - Spacing Double - Accept

Extra: How to Add Page Numbers in Word

If you’re sending your document off to a publication, page numbers are often a requirement, too. This is so editors or researchers can easily refer to a part of the text. You can read our full guide on how to add and modify page numbers in Word here.

Windows 11 - Word - Insert - Page Number - Bottom of Page - Plain Numer 2

Extra: How to Remove or Clear Formatting in Word

You may also find it necessary to remove or clear formatting in Word to make your piece consistent. You can do so quickly by following the linked guide. 

Advertisement