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Adjusting Space Before

Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Word 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Word, click here: Adjusting Space Before.

Word provides a wide variety of shortcuts that affect the formatting of your document. One such shortcut, Ctrl+0 (that a zero) adds or removes a single line of space from before the selected paragraph. In this case, a "single line" is defined as 12 points of space. For some formatting needs, you may want to add more or less space before a paragraph, and so may wonder if you can change Ctrl+0 so it adds or removes the desired space.

There is no configuration setting you can use to modify how Ctrl+0 does its work; it will always add or remove the 12 points. If you have a variety of spacing needs before paragraphs, the most versatile solution is to define styles that control how you want the text to be formatted. Styles can add any amount of space desired before a paragraph, or none at all. You can then assign the styles to keyboard shortcuts and use the shortcuts to apply the styles to your text.

If you don't want to use styles, but instead want to "recode" what Ctrl+0 does, you can create your own macro. The Ctrl+0 shortcut actually runs an internal command named OpenOrCloseUpPara. If you create a macro that uses this same name, it will be run whenever you press Ctrl+0 instead of the internal command. The following macro is just one example of the type you could create:

Sub OpenOrCloseUpPara()
    If Selection.ParagraphFormat.SpaceBefore = 0 Then
        Selection.ParagraphFormat.SpaceBefore = 18
    Else
        Selection.ParagraphFormat.SpaceBefore = 0
    End If
End Sub

This code first checks to see if the space before the paragraph is 0. If it is, the macro sets the space before to 18 points (a line and a half). If the space before is not 0, then it is set to 0 to effectively remove any space before.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (3846) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) here: Adjusting Space Before.

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