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: Put Your Space Before or After?.

Put Your Space Before or After?

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated June 15, 2019)
This tip applies to Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003


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It is not uncommon for page layout designs to call for extra spacing between paragraphs. Word allows you to add extra space either before or after a paragraph. The one you choose is up to you. Remember, however, that the spacing is cumulative. For example, if you have a paragraph that is formatted for 12 points of space after it, followed by a paragraph formatted for 15 points of space before it, then there will be 27 points of space between the paragraphs. You will make your design and layout work much easier if you are consistent in where you add the extra space—either before or after a paragraph.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (951) 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: Put Your Space Before or After?.

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 five less than 5?

2019-06-20 14:10:22

J Nelson

This tip may be inaccurate in one particular: the spacing before and after paragraphs is not cumulative. I confirmed this by adding 0 pts before and 6 pts after to a series of paragraphs. Then I changed one of those to 6pts before and 6pts after. Both on screen and in printing, the spacing did not change from the prior setting.


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