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: Understanding At Least Line Spacing.

Understanding At Least Line Spacing

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 27, 2015)

There are several methods Word can use for line spacing. Typically, the default spacing type (as specified in the Line Spacing field of the Paragraph formatting dialog box) is Auto. This means line spacing will be adjusted, automatically, based on the largest font size or element on each individual line.

The effect of the Auto setting is that if you end up with a line that has nothing but small type on it, then the spacing for that line will be less than for the other lines in the paragraph. If you don't want this to occur, you can use the At Least line spacing setting. This setting allows you to specify the minimum line spacing for the paragraph. Word is free to increase spacing beyond what you specify, but it cannot reduce it.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (169) 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: Understanding At Least Line Spacing.

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. ...


Working with Record Numbers

Want to keep track of various rows in a data table through the use of record numbers? Here are some options and ...

Discover More

Printing a Draft Watermark

Adding a watermark to the background of a printout can be challenging. This tip explains the different ways you can ...

Discover More

Defeating Date Parsing when Pasting Information

Paste information directly into a worksheet, and you may be surprised that Excel makes some of the data unusable. This ...

Discover More

Comprehensive VBA Guide Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is the language used for writing macros in all Office programs. This complete guide shows both professionals and novices how to master VBA in order to customize the entire Office suite for their needs. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2010 today!

More WordTips (menu)

Adjusting Spacing After a Paragraph

There is no need to press Enter a second time at the end of each paragraph. Let Word take care of the spacing ...

Discover More

Put Your Space Before or After?

When working with spacing between paragraphs, Word allows you to specify exactly how much space should be either before ...

Discover More

Adding Borders to Paragraphs

Want to draw attention to a particular paragraph? A great way to do it is with a border. Word allows you to easily add ...

Discover More

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.


If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is five less than 8?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)

This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the menu interface (Word 97, Word 2000, Word 2002, or Word 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Newest Tips

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.